THE WORLD'S BEST CLASS PLANT

This book will genuinely grow on readers. Don’t be surprised when kids clamor for a plant of their own.

A plant implants itself upon students.

Color Arlo and his Room 109 classmates bored. Unlike the pets in neighboring classrooms, their plant mascot does nothing. It barely grows. The plant seems so insignificant that the kids sometimes forget to water it. Their teacher Mr. Boring (“not his real name”; in a riotous turn, he’s assigned various aliases over the course of the story) claims the plant is “more than enough excitement for us.” Oddly, when the plant is named Jerry, he does become exciting, and the kids solicitously tend to him. Even stranger: Jerry gets greener and longer, eventually requires repotting, and acquires an identity. Jerry’s a spider plant, meaning he produces “little baby Jerrys,” aka spiderettes. Soon Room 109, with “Mr. Patient’s” approval, plans a “Jerry Appreciation Day” with costumes, snacks, and activities. This news goes viral, other students ask to trade their class pets for Jerry, and the whole school attends. Laden with humorous charm, this wise, beautifully written story delivers some plant knowledge, fosters empathy for a living thing, and promotes cooperation. The colorful, clean-lined digital illustrations burst with energy. Arlo and his teacher are brown-skinned; the students are diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

This book will genuinely grow on readers. Don’t be surprised when kids clamor for a plant of their own. (so you’re ready to raise a plant of your own...) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 30, 2023

ISBN: 9780525516354

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

I WISH YOU MORE

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.

A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

ROBOBABY

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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