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

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 Press

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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After a promising start, this autumnal offering ultimately disappoints.

A VERY BIG FALL

Change is on the horizon for a trio of leaves at home in the branches of various trees in a park.

When the air grows chilly, Birch, Oak, and Maple all experience different emotions. Birch is optimistic and expectant, Oak is cautious and reluctant, and obstinate Maple feels left out as the other leaves change colors but she doesn’t. Illustrations rendered in acrylic gouache, colored pencil, and collage depict endearingly anthropomorphized leaves, with autumnal colors that pop. As the leaves learn more about fall from a pair of knowledgeable squirrels, Maple’s slow change to red is overshadowed by her impatience to join her friends. It’s only when she pulls herself free that she learns about the downside of fall—namely, the bottoms of boots, rain gutters, and rakes. Much like the shift from the bright crisp early days of autumn to the damp cold ones later in the season, it’s here that the story changes, going from a surprisingly nuanced examination of growth to something fluffy and less interesting. A young girl with straight black hair and tan skin finds the fallen leaves and takes them home, where she draws them as anthropomorphic characters, and all discussion of the importance of change is lost. Caregivers looking for a springboard to a discussion about growing up and the uncertainty of change may find this useful, but its sputtering ending detracts from its early momentum. Maybe next year will bring a more promising crop of leaves. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

After a promising start, this autumnal offering ultimately disappoints. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-358-41945-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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