This peaceful and attractive offering will encourage young children and their caregivers to take a new look at a part of the...

TREES

Elegant illustrations and a subtle, heartwarming environmental message elevate this picture book above the plethora of more conventional nature books for young children.

Created by the Barcelona collective Lemniscates, it has a distinctive style similar to that of the group’s iPad apps. The double-page spreads are illustrated in textural mixed media, with an exquisitely controlled use of color and space. A white child is seen interacting with trees in both rural and urban settings, and many birds are shown enjoying the trees’ bounty of leaves, seeds, and fruit and benefiting from their shelter. Trees are viewed with gentle anthropomorphism; they sleep in winter, wake up in spring; they “have their heads in the clouds / and their feet on the ground.” They “use their roots to communicate and to help one another.” The environmental message is revealed in the final spreads: “Trees cannot change their place in the world. So they are patient and learn to live where they are.” Their value as providers of shelter, shade, clean air, and food reinforces the message of the book: that they are “marvelous beings” and need to be appreciated.

This peaceful and attractive offering will encourage young children and their caregivers to take a new look at a part of the landscape often taken for granted. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9001-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick Studio

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world.

YOU ARE HOME WITH ME

This reassuring picture book exemplifies how parents throughout the animal kingdom make homes for their offspring.

The narrative is written from the point of view of a parent talking to their child: “If you were a beaver, I would gnaw on trees with my teeth to build a cozy lodge for us to sleep in during the day.” Text appears in big, easy-to-read type, with the name of the creature in boldface. Additional facts about the animal appear in a smaller font, such as: “Beavers have transparent eyelids to help them see under water.” The gathering of land, air, and water animals includes a raven, a flying squirrel, and a sea lion. “Home” might be a nest, a den, or a burrow. One example, of a blue whale who has homes in the north and south (ocean is implied), will help children stretch the concept into feeling at home in the larger world. Illustrations of the habitats have an inviting luminosity. Mature and baby animals are realistically depicted, although facial features appear to have been somewhat softened, perhaps to appeal to young readers. The book ends with the comforting scene of a human parent and child silhouetted in the welcoming lights of the house they approach: “Wherever you may be, you will always have a home with me.”

Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-224-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A worthwhile message that just doesn't quite fly.

NO TWO ALIKE

A sadly lackluster paean to the premise that “no two snowflakes are alike, / almost, almost… / but not quite.”

Beginning with snowflakes, Baker then branches out to celebrate the uniqueness of other things, some found in nature, some manmade—nests, branches, leaves and forests. “No two fences, long and low, / no two roads—where do they go? / No two bridges, wood or stone, / no two houses— / anyone home?” His ultimate message, arrived at on almost the final page, is that every living thing is one of a kind. While it is certainly an important message, the very young may not make the leap from the animals and things that populate the book to humans, which make no appearance. Baker’s digital illustrations fill the spreads with simple shapes and soft, woodsy colors. The two red birds (rather like crestless cardinals) that fly through this wintry wonderland steal the show. Their expressions are adorable, their antics endearing and rather anthropomorphic—one skis, while the other tries to pelt a fox with snowballs. But they may not be enough to carry the flat text and lack of a story line. Indeed, the book depends on the rhymes and the cute birds to keep the pages turning.

A worthwhile message that just doesn't quite fly. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4424-1742-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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