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Marvelous as a read-aloud and as a springboard to maker projects in classrooms and libraries.

A loving ode to folks who get their hands dirty doing nitty-gritty jobs.

It’s all well and good that visionaries—authors, illustrators, scientists, illustrators, architects, and engineers—plot ideas on paper, easels, blueprints, computers, and blackboards, but thoughts, designs, and plans remain figments until pipe fitters, diggers, solderers, construction workers, carpenters, welders, miners, electricians, plumbers, and countless others get down to business and bring dreams to fruition by actually making what creators envisioned. Skyscrapers and houses don’t rise on their own, and bridges don’t span waterways by themselves. And books don’t get published by magic, either! Who gets those words and pictures—as in this very book kids are reading/hearing—onto pages? Why, typesetters and workers who run the presses and load the paper machines! This is a gorgeous, respectful tribute, expressed in jaunty rhymes that read well, to the dignity and beauty of industry and the pride and pleasure derived from doing one’s best. The word build is repeatedly italicized for emphasis. Crisp, definitively lined illustrations superbly suit the robust theme. They reveal many future-job possibilities to kids and, happily, depict multiple genders and persons of various races plying various blue-collar and professional trades, including a Black woman reading to kids at a library storytime; one character appears in a wheelchair. Tool and vehicle aficionados will feel at home. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.9-by-22.8-inch double-page spreads viewed at 35.4% of actual size.)

Marvelous as a read-aloud and as a springboard to maker projects in classrooms and libraries. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984814-33-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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A solid, small step for diversifying STEM stories.

What does Annie want to be?

As career day approaches, Annie wants to keep her job choice secret until her family sees her presentation at school. Readers will figure it out, however, through the title and clues Tadgell incorporates into the illustrations. Family members make guesses about her ambitions that are tied to their own passions, although her brother watches as she completes her costume in a bedroom with a Mae Jemison poster, starry décor, and a telescope. There’s a celebratory mood at the culminating presentation, where Annie says she wants to “soar high through the air” like her basketball-playing mother, “explore faraway places” like her hiker dad, and “be brave and bold” like her baker grandmother (this feels forced, but oven mitts are part of her astronaut costume) so “the whole world will hear my exciting stories” like her reporter grandfather. Annie jumps off a chair to “BLAST OFF” in a small illustration superimposed on a larger picture depicting her floating in space with a reddish ground below. It’s unclear if Annie imagines this scene or if it’s her future-self exploring Mars, but either scenario fits the aspirational story. Backmatter provides further reading suggestions and information about the moon and four women astronauts, one of whom is Jemison. Annie and her family are all black.

A solid, small step for diversifying STEM stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-88448-523-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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