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OUTDOOR FARM, INDOOR FARM

A captivating glimpse into the shifting agricultural landscape.

Two youngsters compare and contrast two very different farms.

Efrem and Emma are pen pals, each writing about their family farm. Emma lives on a traditional, soil-based farm in the country, while Efrem’s family has an aeroponic farm in the city. The book is organized by seasons, starting with spring. On Emma’s farm, crops are just beginning to be planted, while bushy greens are already growing on Efrem’s farm. “Outdoor farm, / tractors toil. / Indoor farm, / zero soil.” A large, sprawling landscape is contrasted with an image of trays stacked up high. At first, the differences are more apparent, but on close inspection, it’s clear that there are similarities, too. For instance, on both farms, light is necessary for crops to grow, but, as noted in the backmatter, indoor farms use LED lighting, often relying only on certain colors, such as red or blue (“Outdoor farm, / sunlight beams. / Indoor farm, / color streams”). Readers may suppose that the traditional farm is outdated, but new technology is included here, too, such as drones. Spare, bouncy rhymes pair with soft, rounded illustrations. The staccato rhythm limits explanations, but a full spread of detailed notes at the end describes why farms are changing and how each type works. Efrem is brown-skinned, while Emma presents Asian.

A captivating glimpse into the shifting agricultural landscape. (activities, videos, selected sources, photos) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 9, 2024

ISBN: 9781635925913

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Astra Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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HELLO AUTUMN!

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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HELLO WINTER!

A solid addition to Rotner’s seasonal series. Bring on summer.

Rotner follows up her celebrations of spring and autumn with this look at all things winter.

Beginning with the signs that winter is coming—bare trees, shorter days, colder temperatures—Rotner eases readers into the season. People light fires and sing songs on the solstice, trees and plants stop growing, and shadows grow long. Ice starts to form on bodies of water and windows. When the snow flies, the fun begins—bundle up and then build forts, make snowballs and snowmen (with eyebrows!), sled, ski (nordic is pictured), skate, snowshoe, snowboard, drink hot chocolate. Animals adapt to the cold as well. “Birds grow more feathers” (there’s nothing about fluffing and air insulation) and mammals, more hair. They have to search for food, and Rotner discusses how many make or find shelter, slow down, hibernate, or go underground or underwater to stay warm. One page talks about celebrating holidays with lights and decorations. The photos show a lit menorah, an outdoor deciduous tree covered in huge Christmas bulbs, a girl next to a Chinese dragon head, a boy with lit luminarias, and some fireworks. The final spread shows signs of the season’s shift to spring. Rotner’s photos, as always, are a big draw. The children are a marvelous mix of cultures and races, and all show their clear delight with winter.

A solid addition to Rotner’s seasonal series. Bring on summer. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3976-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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