The author, who lives on a marsh, calls this a love letter to the cranberry-growing community, but it is also an...

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TIME FOR CRANBERRIES

Sam shares the autumn activities on his family's farm—harvest time on a cranberry bog.

He's excited because he's finally old enough to help. Sam outlines every detail, from the big waders he and his parents wear to the equipment they use, such as the picking machine, the boom, suction pump, and cleaner. He uses lively descriptions and sound words to convey his enthusiasm: their waders “shlip and shlerp,” berries “hop and pop,” and when Sam falls in, they start a water-and-cranberry fight: “splish and splash.” Sam is wet through. Dad cheerfully says, "I always say you're not a cranberry grower until you fall in." This is a family pulling together literally and figuratively, and they enjoy both their work and the fruits of their labor. Even after their crop has been delivered, Sam wakes up on Thanksgiving morning to the delicious aroma of a fresh-baked cranberry pie (recipe included). The fun, the work, and the satisfaction are captured in watercolor-and-pencil illustrations infused with warm golds, browns, and reds to reflect the season and balance the cool blues of water and sky.

The author, who lives on a marsh, calls this a love letter to the cranberry-growing community, but it is also an enlightening, joyful celebration of a little-explored agricultural endeavor. (author's note, glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62672-098-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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

THE THANK YOU BOOK

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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Sweet—and savory.

THE KEEPER OF WILD WORDS

When a girl visits her grandmother, a writer and “grand friend,” she is seeking something special to share at show and tell on the first day of school.

Before Brook can explain, Mimi expresses concern that certain words describing the natural world will disappear if someone doesn’t care for and use them. (An author’s note explains the author’s motivation: She had read of the removal of 100 words about outdoor phenomena from the Oxford Junior Dictionary.) The duo sets out to search for and experience the 19 words on Mimi’s list, from “acorn” and “buttercup” to “violet” and “willow.” Kloepper’s soft illustrations feature green and brown earth tones that frame the white, matte pages; bursts of red, purple, and other spot colors enliven the scenes. Both Mimi and Brook are depicted as white. The expedition is described in vivid language, organized as free verse in single sentences or short paragraphs. Key words are printed in color in a larger display type and capital letters. Sensory details allow the protagonist to hear, see, smell, taste, and hold the wild: “ ‘Quick! Make a wish!’ said Mimi, / holding out a DANDELION, / fairy dust sitting on a stem. / ‘Blow on it and the seeds will fly. / Your tiny wishes in the air.’ ” It’s a day of wonder, with a touch of danger and a solution to Brook’s quest. The last page forms an envelope for readers’ own vocabulary collections.

Sweet—and savory. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7073-2

Page Count: 62

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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