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CHIRRI & CHIRRA, IN THE TALL GRASS

From the Chirri & Chirra series

Utterly charming.

Following their eponymous opening adventure (2016), unflappable Japanese twins Chirri and Chirra return for another serene, sylvan outing.

It begins when they ride their bikes into a patch of tall grass, shrinking to the size of insects as they do. When they emerge, they find themselves dwarfed by sprigs of white clover, from which a bumblebee collects honey in two large baggies. They follow it to its nest in a hillside, peeking in through a hexagonal window to a charming kitchen in which the bee and her companion make honey sponge cake that they share with the girls. They then follow a flower chafer to its house, where the beetle gives them “freshly squeezed mixed-leaf juice with yumberry fruit and raspberry pulp.” Off they go again, bells ringing “dring-dring,” after a friendly lizard, who invites them in to make candy. The idyll, depicted in soft, smudgy colors that have the look of lithographs, plays out in cozy, single-page illustrations in a slightly smaller-than-typical trim. There is no sense of danger or even discontent, just a warm, green world that opens itself up to the twins—and when they re-emerge by their house in the firefly-lit twilight to find their candy suddenly gone, there are no tears. Whether readers decide it’s all imaginary or not is irrelevant; they will love every moment, regardless.

Utterly charming. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-59270-225-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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THE WATER PRINCESS

Though told by two outsiders to the culture, this timely and well-crafted story will educate readers on the preciousness of...

An international story tackles a serious global issue with Reynolds’ characteristic visual whimsy.

Gie Gie—aka Princess Gie Gie—lives with her parents in Burkina Faso. In her kingdom under “the African sky, so wild and so close,” she can tame wild dogs with her song and make grass sway, but despite grand attempts, she can neither bring the water closer to home nor make it clean. French words such as “maintenant!” (now!) and “maman” (mother) and local color like the karite tree and shea nuts place the story in a French-speaking African country. Every morning, Gie Gie and her mother perch rings of cloth and large clay pots on their heads and walk miles to the nearest well to fetch murky, brown water. The story is inspired by model Georgie Badiel, who founded the Georgie Badiel Foundation to make clean water accessible to West Africans. The details in Reynolds’ expressive illustrations highlight the beauty of the West African landscape and of Princess Gie Gie, with her cornrowed and beaded hair, but will also help readers understand that everyone needs clean water—from the children of Burkina Faso to the children of Flint, Michigan.

Though told by two outsiders to the culture, this timely and well-crafted story will educate readers on the preciousness of potable water. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-17258-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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