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THINGS THAT GROW by Libby Walden Kirkus Star


by Libby Walden ; illustrated by Becca Stadtlander

Pub Date: March 1st, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-944530-05-1
Publisher: 360 Degrees

A compendium of things in the universe that grow—including the universe itself—presented in an illustrated informational picture book divided into chapters.

Vast processes (the growth of mountains through plate tectonics) are combined with specific examples (the echidna doesn’t develop its spines until it leaves its mother’s pouch) to successfully explore this book’s ambitious premise: all things in our universe “develop and grow with every passing day.” This is a big idea for young readers, and because the topic of the evolution of humans occupies only two of the book’s 64 pages, it also underscores the important concept that humans are only one small part of an expansive, growing, changing universe. The book is divided into three sections: "Plants and Trees," "The Animal Kingdom," and "The Universe." Walden selects her facts and examples not only to inform readers, but to stimulate in them a curiosity that may propel further exploration. Stadtlander’s numerous illustrations—accessibly simple but not amateurish—along with the book’s small, unusual trim size (7.5 inches long by 5.8 inches high), give the book almost the look and feel of a child’s journal, which makes the weighty topics approachable. The only drawback is the book’s ending (a spread on islands rather than a summation of what’s gone before), which feels inconclusive.

A gem of a small book, thoughtfully made for small hands and, with its heavy paper and sewn binding, loving handling.

(Informational picture book. 6-12)