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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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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A solo debut for Wenzel showcasing both technical chops and a philosophical bent.

Our Verdict

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  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Caldecott Honor Book

THEY ALL SAW A CAT

Wouldn’t the same housecat look very different to a dog and a mouse, a bee and a flea, a fox, a goldfish, or a skunk?

The differences are certainly vast in Wenzel’s often melodramatic scenes. Benign and strokable beneath the hand of a light-skinned child (visible only from the waist down), the brindled cat is transformed to an ugly, skinny slinker in a suspicious dog’s view. In a fox’s eyes it looks like delectably chubby prey but looms, a terrifying monster, over a cowering mouse. It seems a field of colored dots to a bee; jagged vibrations to an earthworm; a hairy thicket to a flea. “Yes,” runs the terse commentary’s refrain, “they all saw the cat.” Words in italics and in capital letters in nearly every line give said commentary a deliberate cadence and pacing: “The cat walked through the world, / with its whiskers, ears, and paws… // and the fish saw A CAT.” Along with inviting more reflective viewers to ruminate about perception and subjectivity, the cat’s perambulations offer elemental visual delights in the art’s extreme and sudden shifts in color, texture, and mood from one page or page turn to the next.

A solo debut for Wenzel showcasing both technical chops and a philosophical bent. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5013-0

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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