This bedtime fantasy features an intimate glimpse into the imagined world of fungi.

Short sentences, lilting rhymes, and harmonious visuals help viewers grasp the subject matter: “This is a mushroom that grows in the park. / This is a mushroom that glows in the dark.” Kraegel invites readers in by showing a homey mushroom dwelling and switching to the second person; since the “you” is never depicted, all will feel included. Friends are welcome, too: A snail, caterpillar, ladybug, and butterflies visit. They play volleyball, strategize chess moves, and sip lemonade under the flowers. A nearly square trim size and ink-and-watercolor compositions with an abundance of curves and rounded shapes create a setting filled with quiet joy and a sense of security. Stippling and other surface patterns provide texture and gradations of light. As the day winds down, the warm palette becomes even more intense, with glowing embers in the fireplace and deep orange-red walls and décor. The cozy interior is filled with neatly arranged toys, books, musical instruments, and stuffed animals. Stars and the moon are visible through the circular window, and as the view pans out to portray a community of mushroom homes in all their glorious variety, listeners learn that while it is time to “turn out the light,” they are wished “sweet dreams, / a soft rest… // and a very good night.” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A mycological charmer. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1941-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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A sweet, poetic ode to autumn.


A rhyming celebration of imagination.

A child with brown skin offers gentle, artful ideas about what to do with autumn leaves. The picture book's idyllic setting seems Northeastern in nature, with deciduous trees shedding leaves, which the child scoops up. Could a leaf from a tree become a hat, a Halloween mask, a hammock, or something else entirely? "It could be a horn that blows, announcing that we're here. // A leafy parade to celebrate our favorite time of year." Rhyme rules the text but isn't forced in the least. Collaged leaves against painted illustrations encourage play and imagination. A nod to winter and spring make this a year-round read. Endpapers with realistic labeled images of leaves provide an injection of information in this otherwise dreamy musing. The backmatter includes instructions on collaging—a meaningful and fun activity that builds upon the text. While there's nothing groundbreaking here, there is opportunity for both learning and whimsy. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A sweet, poetic ode to autumn. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-30659-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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A worthwhile message that just doesn't quite fly.


A sadly lackluster paean to the premise that “no two snowflakes are alike, / almost, almost… / but not quite.”

Beginning with snowflakes, Baker then branches out to celebrate the uniqueness of other things, some found in nature, some manmade—nests, branches, leaves and forests. “No two fences, long and low, / no two roads—where do they go? / No two bridges, wood or stone, / no two houses— / anyone home?” His ultimate message, arrived at on almost the final page, is that every living thing is one of a kind. While it is certainly an important message, the very young may not make the leap from the animals and things that populate the book to humans, which make no appearance. Baker’s digital illustrations fill the spreads with simple shapes and soft, woodsy colors. The two red birds (rather like crestless cardinals) that fly through this wintry wonderland steal the show. Their expressions are adorable, their antics endearing and rather anthropomorphic—one skis, while the other tries to pelt a fox with snowballs. But they may not be enough to carry the flat text and lack of a story line. Indeed, the book depends on the rhymes and the cute birds to keep the pages turning.

A worthwhile message that just doesn't quite fly. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4424-1742-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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