This celebration of all things autumn will delight young children as they begin to imagine piles of leaves for jumping and big orange pumpkins for carving. The lyrical text follows a young boy as he watches the animals and plants begin their journey into the colder months ahead. Readers will almost be able to hear the crunch of the fallen leaves underfoot and the rattling of the dry cattails—and smell the warm, salty smell of roasted pumpkin seeds through this first in a four-volume series that investigates the seasons. Beautiful photographs of cut paper that can only be described as sculptural accompany the simple text. From the young boy’s spiky, orange hair to the wispy tendrils of the milkweed as it is caught up by the wind, the layers of color give the illustrations a depth that paint alone would have a difficult time replicating. Following the narrative is a section detailing many nature activities to do in the fall, including planting bulbs for the spring, creating a compost pile, and taking a moonlit walk. Nature seems to come alive within the pages of this beautiful and interesting tribute to the many joys of autumn. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7613-1758-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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In a near carbon copy of her debut (Not a Box, 2006), Portis brings to life the imaginative properties inherent in an average stick. As a small pig plays blithely with its new toy, an omnipresent narrator questions and warns the animal about the wisdom of waving about the large pointy object. The pig, for its part, repeats again and again its insistence that this is not a stick. Dark blue lines allow readers to imagine—along with the animal—several feats of derring-do and wonder accomplished with the stick-turned-fishing rod/marching baton/cowboy’s pony, etc. At the end, the pig triumphantly names its toy a “Not-a-Stick” and leads an imaginary dragon off in triumph. Accusations of Portis copycatting her original book are almost irrelevant in the face of this book’s cheer. Certainly one hopes that she will someday find a new format for her creative drive, but at least this sequel has enough charm and understated pizzazz to allow its creator to work her magic one more time. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-06-112325-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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Thank you, Gerald and Piggie. We’ll miss you


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Piggie is “one lucky pig,” and she’s determined to make sure she thanks “everyone who is important to” her in this, the final Elephant & Piggie book.

Gerald is sure his friend will forget someone—“someone important”—but Piggie assures him, “It will be a THANK-O-RAMA!” Piggie proceeds to thank the Squirrels for their great ideas, Snake for playing ball, and the Pigeon “for never giving up.” Piggie thanks and thanks: “I am a thanking machine!” She thanks character after character, even the Flies (“Any time, dude!”), as Gerald continues to interject that she’ll forget “someone VERY important.” Finally Piggie runs out of thanks, and by this time Gerald is steamed. “I goofed,” Piggie says in itty-bitty type, before lavishing thanks on Gerald. But that’s not whom Piggie forgot to thank! A classic Willems tantrum later, Gerald reveals the “someone important”: “Our reader.” Of course. “We could not be ‘us’ without you,” says Gerald, earnestly looking out from the page, and Piggie chimes in, “You are the best!” As Elephant & Piggie books go, this isn’t one of the strongest, but it is a validating valediction to fans of the two characters, who have won Willems two Geisel Medals and five Honors. Yes, Gerald and Piggie have ushered countless readers into literacy, but as they rightly note, reading is a collaborative act.

Thank you, Gerald and Piggie. We’ll miss you . (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7828-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2016

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