Kids of all ages will gain a new appreciation for water, and Salas and Dabija will surely gain new fans.

WATER CAN BE . . .

In a look at the forms, functions and uses of water, Salas and Dabija turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

The simple text and spot-on rhymes belie the sophistication of the inherent message behind the verse—water is a life-giver. It creates the weather, quenches thirst, is a habitat for animals, helps the plants and trees grow, both cools and insulates, fights fires, soothes injuries and beautifies the Earth in myriad ways. Mentioning only spring and autumn by name, the pictures nonetheless cycle through all four seasons. “Water is water— / it’s puddle, pond, sea. / When springtime comes splashing, / the water flows free. // Water can be a… / Tadpole hatcher / Picture catcher // Otter feeder / Downhill speeder // Garden soaker / Valley cloaker.” Dabija’s illustrations, created with a combination of traditional and digital techniques and filled with simple shapes and vivid, vibrant colors, are misty, scratchy, sometimes-impressionistic, always atmospheric—in a word, beautiful. Even older elementary students will welcome the shimmering pairings of words and artwork, their teachers using this as both a science lesson and a writing exercise—can students write as poetically, economically and informatively as Salas? Backmatter extends the poetic hints in brief paragraphs (“Rainbow jeweler” describes how rainbows form, for example).

Kids of all ages will gain a new appreciation for water, and Salas and Dabija will surely gain new fans. (glossary, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4677-0591-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids.

SADIE SPROCKET BUILDS A ROCKET

A little girl’s imaginative plan to become an astronaut and be the first to travel to Mars really takes off.

Together with a crew of stuffed animals (owl, rabbit, and teddy bear), Sadie Sprocket does her research, gathers materials to build her spaceship, and, with support from family and friends—and media coverage—embarks on her historic journey. Rhyming quatrains tell the story of how Sadie patiently reads, cooks, and records important data during the 100-day interplanetary journey. And then: “The Earth behind, so far away, / was now a tiny dot. / Then Sadie cried, ‘There’s planet Mars! / It’s smaller than I thought!’ ” After landing and gathering 20 bags of samples, Sadie and crew are stuck in a red sandstorm while trying to take off again. But with Sadie’s determination and can-do spirit, they blast off, safely returning to Earth with future heroic space-exploration ideas in mind. Spiky cartoons transform a child’s playroom into an outer-space venue, complete with twinkling stars and colorful planets. Sadie presents White while her encouraging fans feature more diversity. An addendum includes brief facts about Mars and a handful of women space scientists. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1803-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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