A lyrical story for nature-loving readers, told with reverence for the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest.

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IF YOU WANT TO VISIT A SEA GARDEN

Imagine taking an early morning walk to a sea garden—the intertidal habitats cultivated by First Nations peoples to increase biodiversity and provide sustainable seafood harvesting.

“If you want to visit a sea garden… / …you’ll have to get up really early.” Using gentle, second-person narration, Weisman describes what readers would find if they were lucky enough to visit one of these reefs, which have existed for thousands of years along the Pacific Northwest coast. The sights and sounds of the shore are rendered in poetic detail throughout the text, from the “symphony of clams…exhaling” to the barnacle-encrusted rocks. Most compelling are the descriptions of the human community that has gathered around them: “generations of First Peoples who…have come here to build and care for the sea garden, harvest and clean clams, and share knowledge and stories.” The sea gardens’ significance to First Nations peoples is at the heart of this story, shining a light on Native brilliance and their continued existence. Deft use of shapes, silhouettes, and color in the bold, graphic images emphasizes what a “special place” these reefs truly are. Families who value #ownvoices stories will be glad to learn that the manuscript was vetted by Kwaxsistalla Wathl’thla Clan Chief Adam Dick and illustrated by renowned Indigenous artist Vickers, whose heritage includes T’simshian, Haida, Heiltsuk, and English ancestors. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 27.5% of actual size.)

A lyrical story for nature-loving readers, told with reverence for the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest. (author's note, acknowledgements, photographs) (Informational picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-55498-970-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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St. Patrick’s Day will never be the same; beware, though: leprechauns who aren’t caught often take revenge by making messes.

HOW TO BUILD A LEPRECHAUN TRAP

Devious young scientists, engineers, and crafters will be solidly occupied with the 16 traps, three snacks, and 10 leprechaun tricks that are described here.

Each project comes with a level of difficulty, leprechaun appeal meter, list of materials, its STEAM connection (in a separate box listing topics touched upon and extensions), and numbered steps. The STEAM connections vary widely. Too many of the early projects that involve a stick propping up a trap lid have the same STEAM connection. Later projects, including a Leprechaun Run and a Marshmallow Catapult that talk about potential and kinetic energy and a Marshmallow Bridge that is heavy on the engineering piece, have more solid STEAM connections. “Did You Know” featurettes offer fascinating facts: Ireland has more sheep than people, and leprechauns used to wear red, not green. Readers will know to call a grown-up when they see the words “adult supervision” underlined in the directions, which also include “messy alerts.” The artwork is a mix of photographs, line drawings, and cartoons. Only two completed projects are photographed; the rest are digital illustrations. While this allows kids scope for their imaginations, some may need more help with the steps than the cartoons provide (particularly with the catapult). Photos show an array of diverse children working on the projects, although the disembodied hand holding scissors shown frequently is always white.

St. Patrick’s Day will never be the same; beware, though: leprechauns who aren’t caught often take revenge by making messes. (Nonfiction. 4-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6388-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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This charming star shines bright.

THE SUN IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL

A humorous introduction to our sun and the solar system.

Webcomic creator Seluk aquaints readers with the sun (sporting a sly grin and a cool pair of shades) and its position as both the literal and metaphorical star of the solar system. Readers are introduced to the planets’ general relationships to the sun before diving deeper into the Earth’s unique reliance on the sun: “It does a ton of important jobs for Earth. In fact, we wouldn’t be around without the Sun!” The book explores everything from the effects of Earth’s rotation on our planet’s temperatures, daylight, and seasons to the water cycle and photosynthesis with clear and friendly prose. The planets’ characterizations are silly and irreverent: Venus wears a visor, Saturn is a hula-hoop champ, and Jupiter desperately wants an autograph but pretends it’s for one of its moons. Speech-bubble asides and simple but expressive faces and arm postures add to the celestial bodies’ personalities. Bright colors, contrasting backgrounds, and bold lines are engaging but never overwhelming. Vocabulary words set in boldface are tied to a glossary in the back. Backmatter also includes a gossip-magazine–style spread (“Planets: They’re Just Like Us!”) and a “Did You Know” section that highlights ancient civilizations’ beliefs about the sun.

This charming star shines bright. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-16697-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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