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From the Meet Your World series

Naturalistic and charming.

A raccoon grows from baby to adult.

The second-person narration puts young readers in the position of the raccoon, born blind and deaf and only able to “sniff! Wiggle! Whine!” Further helping little ones to envision themselves as the raccoon, spotlight illustrations on the recto of each double-page spread show diverse children naturally engaging in the same activities as the animal. The spare text on each page is accessible for emerging readers, and the full-color art’s soothing palette makes this ideal for a bedtime story. From initially just snuggling and sleeping, the raccoon grows and begins to chatter, crawl, climb, and feast on berries and acorns as well as earthworms, beetles, and snails (while the illustrated children eat things like carrots, bananas, and pasta). Once winter comes, the plump raccoon family slumbers away, waking “every few weeks to look for food.” When spring arrives, the baby raccoon is now an adult ready to move out into a den of their own. The narrative is followed by lovingly written raccoon facts and activities for kids who want to pretend to be raccoons. The author warns that though they’re cute (and the rounded, charming creatures depicted in the illustrations are exceptionally adorable), raccoons are wild animals and need to be left alone by people and pets. Part of a series that spotlights familiar North American animals, the book deftly connects natural human children’s activities to raccoon behaviors without engaging in anthropomorphism. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Naturalistic and charming. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 11, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-52972-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

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Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard.

Rotner follows Hello Spring (2017) with this salute to the fall season.

Name a change seen in northern climes in fall, and Rotner likely covers it here, from plants, trees, and animals to the food we harvest: seeds are spread, the days grow shorter and cooler, the leaves change and fall (and are raked up and jumped in), some animals migrate, and many families celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. As in the previous book, the photographs (presented in a variety of sizes and layouts, all clean) are the stars here, displaying both the myriad changes of the season and a multicultural array of children enjoying the outdoors in fall. These are set against white backgrounds that make the reddish-orange print pop. The text itself uses short sentences and some solid vocabulary (though “deep sleep” is used instead of “hibernate”) to teach readers the markers of autumn, though in the quest for simplicity, Rotner sacrifices some truth. In several cases, the addition of just a few words would have made the following oversimplified statements reflect reality: “Birds grow more feathers”; “Cranberries float and turn red.” Also, Rotner includes the statement “Bees store extra honey in their hives” on a page about animals going into deep sleep, implying that honeybees hibernate, which is false.

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3869-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.

Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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