Simple and pleasing, with classroom-discussion and read-aloud appeal

READ REVIEW

A LEAF CAN BE...

A leaf's various purposes are contemplated in this gentle celebration of nature.

Fresh leaves burst forth in Salas’ opening stanza, followed by two- to four-word couplets listing a leaf’s many functions. This pattern continues for fall and winter, allowing her rhymed verse to reinforce the cyclical nature of the seasons. What pours forth in free-association–like fashion is sometimes poetic (“Wind rider / Lake glider”), oftentimes purposeful (“Air cleaner / Earth greener”) and mostly playful (“Frost catcher / “Moth matcher”). Dabija’s soft, ethereal illustrations lend a warmth and vibrancy to the text. Her palette, dictated by the weather, is full of lush greens, sultry browns, golden yellows and dusky blues. Through heavy use of the computer, she layers textures into varied patterns and shapes, giving each illustration an organic feel. While this effect is skillfully used on the backgrounds, it is less effective on the primary objects, leaving people and animals to appear pasted in, rather than integrated into the artwork. Compositionally, the images are nicely designed, but since one does not visually lead to the next, they are more like tableaux than a continuous visual narrative. An addendum explaining the author’s word choices (what does she mean by “mouth filler”?) is included, as well as a suggested reading list and glossary.

Simple and pleasing, with classroom-discussion and read-aloud appeal . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6203-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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Amusing and nicely on-brand.

THE PRINCESS IN BLACK AND THE SCIENCE FAIR SCARE

From the Princess in Black series , Vol. 6

Princess Magnolia’s attempt at a monster-free science fair goes as well as can be expected in the sixth book of the Princess in Black series.

With the Goat Avenger on monster watch, Princess Magnolia heads to the Interkingdom Science Fair. While initially excited about her project—a poster showing “how seeds grow into plants”—and seeing her fellow princess friends, Magnolia’s soon intimidated by how ambitious and fancy the other royals’ projects are. Why, Tommy Wigtower even has a talking volcano—when his baking-soda–and-vinegar volcano didn’t erupt properly, he added monster hair. The resulting goo monster wreaks havoc on the fair, leading to appearances by the Princess in Black and the Princess in Blankets to battle the beast. Evicted from the volcano, the monster tries to find a new home, prompting Princess Honeysuckle, Princess Orchid, and Princess Snapdragon (all sans aliases and costumes) to help deliver the monster to the monster hole for a new home. While it’s great to see the heroics from princesses in full regalia, the final page hints that they’ll soon join in the alter-ego fun. Perhaps the best gem is when the science-fair winner is announced and the graceful losers offer genuine congratulations while resolving to try harder next year. Aside from white Magnolia, the cast is multicultural and multiracial.

Amusing and nicely on-brand. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8827-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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