Share with budding naturalists or use as an excellent guide for a woodland walk when the first rains of spring awaken this...

THE SECRET POOL

This surprisingly engaging look at a habitat not often covered in science curricula and popular nonfiction series strikes a harmonious balance of conversational language, factual text and informative illustrations.

On the full-bleed spread preceding the first page, Raye paints a watery woodland scene, in a multitude of greens and browns, with a population of creatures that depend upon the vernal pool for survival. Children will be amazed at how vital this place is for owls, rabbits, ducks, raccoons, robins, turtles, toads, tadpoles, snakes, dragonflies, deer, skunks, squirrels, frogs and salamanders. The vernal pool speaks from the beginning, “A shimmer. A twinkling. Do you have any inkling of what I am?…you might mistake me for a puddle—which I most certainly am not!” Each spread features captivating narrative that explains this “watery jewel” on a child’s level on one side and on the other provides more scientific information in a smaller font. Topics covered include the definition of a vernal pool and highlights about the various animals that begin or spend their entire lives in this relatively small biome. The book proceeds from the earliest days of spring through an entire year, dictating the order in which creatures are introduced. Readers will be amazed to learn that wood frogs can freeze into “frogsicles” during winter only to thaw out in the spring and that “fairy shrimp eggs can last up to fifteen years before hatching!”

Share with budding naturalists or use as an excellent guide for a woodland walk when the first rains of spring awaken this diverse and fascinating ecosystem. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-88448-339-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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Cool and stylish.

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ADA TWIST, SCIENTIST

Her intellectual curiosity is surpassed only by her passion for science. But what to do about her messy experiments?

Ada is speechless until she turns 3. But once she learns how to break out of her crib, there’s no stopping the kinky-haired, brown-skinned girl. “She tore through the house on a fact-finding spree.” When she does start speaking, her favorite words are “why,” “how,” and “when.” Her parents, a fashion-forward black couple who sport a variety of trendy outfits, are dumbfounded, and her older brother can only point at her in astonishment. She amazes her friends with her experiments. Ada examines all the clocks in the house, studies the solar system, and analyzes all the smells she encounters. Fortunately, her parents stop her from putting the cat in the dryer, sending her instead to the Thinking Chair. But while there, she covers the wall with formulae. What can her parents do? Instead of punishing her passion, they decide to try to understand it. “It’s all in the heart of a young scientist.” Though her plot is negligible—Ada’s parents arguably change more than she does—Beaty delightfully advocates for girls in science in her now-trademark crisply rhyming text. Roberts’ illustrations, in watercolor, pen, and ink, manage to be both smart and silly; the page compositions artfully evoke the tumult of Ada’s curiosity, filling white backgrounds with questions and clutter.

Cool and stylish. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2137-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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

THE WATER PRINCESS

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 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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