BILLIONS OF BRICKS

After sharing this, readers will have a new appreciation for bricks and will want to count all the ways they’re used in...

This describes itself as “a counting book about building,” but it is so much more.

Vying for readers’ attention are the snappy rhymes that both count and instruct and the artwork, the details so vivid and the bricks so real that some of the stacks might just fall with the touch of a counting finger. With each turn of the page, what appear to be the members of a community—young and old, male and female, black and white and brown—add more bricks to create a masterpiece. Starting with “two, four, six. / Look at all the bricks! / Red and rough, hard and tough. / Two, four, six,” the piles of bricks get larger and larger as readers are treated to a view of how bricks are made. Some mix the mortar, some lay the bricks, and one white boy, having been given one brick by what could be his grandmother, can be seen on every page, carrying or offering his brick to workers. Past the halfway mark, Cyrus continues to use numbers in his rhymes, but readers will be unable to match them with bricks to count. No matter. This is an amazing feat of architecture and artistry that kids will pore over long after the last brick has been laid.

After sharing this, readers will have a new appreciation for bricks and will want to count all the ways they’re used in their own communities. (Counting/picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-273-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

JUST A WORM

Unusual illustrations enhance an engaging, informative narrative.

What can a worm do?

A little worm sets off on a “twirl” to “see the world.” But when it overhears a human referring to it as “just a worm,” its feelings are hurt. The worm asks other critters­—including a caterpillar, a spider, a dragonfly—what they can do. After each answer (turn into a butterfly, spin silk thread, fly), the worm becomes more and more dejected because it can’t do any of these things. “Maybe I am just a worm.” But then the worm encounters a ladybug, who eats aphids and other insects, and the worm realizes that it eats dead plants and animals and keeps gardens clean. And though the worm can’t pollinate like the bee, it does create castings (poop) that help plants grow and stay healthy. These abilities, the worm realizes in triumph, are important! The cleverness of this story lies in its lighthearted, effective dissemination of information about various insects as well as earthworms. It doesn’t hurt that the expressive little worm is downright adorable, with emotions that will resonate with anyone who has felt unimportant. The stunning illustrations are done in quilled paper—a centuries-old technique that involves assembling strips of colored paper into shapes—which adds sparkle and originality. A tutorial of how to make a quilled butterfly and a page on earthworm facts round out the book. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Unusual illustrations enhance an engaging, informative narrative. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 14, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-06-321256-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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