I LOVE INSECTS

From the I Like To Read series

A fun, educational science book that thoughtfully portrays kids of color engaging with and learning from nature and each...

In her latest science-focused picture book, Rockwell offers perspectives from two kids with opposing opinions about insects.

A Black girl with long braids and glasses announces her love of insects while a boy of Asian descent, who drops his sandwich running from two houseflies, says he hates them. Throughout this picture book, which teems with color and motion, the girl focuses on the positives, like their beauty, role as pollinators, and benefits to the soil, as the boy highlights the negatives, like their penchant for stinging, the ugliness of insects like fleas, and the damage some such as aphids do to plants. Readers can decide for themselves whether the two protagonists find some points of agreement. The final double-page spread illustrates all of the insects that appear in the book and invites readers to revisit earlier pages to find them, including butterflies, beetles, bees, a mosquito, a cricket, and more. This informational early reader employs a controlled vocabulary that intentionally repeats words and phrases to facilitate independent reading. Many recognizable insects appear in the book, like the field cricket and the bumblebee, but Rockwell also includes some, such as the little wood satyr butterfly and the cucumber beetle, that will pique curiosity and encourage budding entomologists to explore further to learn about bugs they’ve never met.

A fun, educational science book that thoughtfully portrays kids of color engaging with and learning from nature and each other. (Informational early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4759-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

HELLO AUTUMN!

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard.

Rotner follows Hello Spring (2017) with this salute to the fall season.

Name a change seen in northern climes in fall, and Rotner likely covers it here, from plants, trees, and animals to the food we harvest: seeds are spread, the days grow shorter and cooler, the leaves change and fall (and are raked up and jumped in), some animals migrate, and many families celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. As in the previous book, the photographs (presented in a variety of sizes and layouts, all clean) are the stars here, displaying both the myriad changes of the season and a multicultural array of children enjoying the outdoors in fall. These are set against white backgrounds that make the reddish-orange print pop. The text itself uses short sentences and some solid vocabulary (though “deep sleep” is used instead of “hibernate”) to teach readers the markers of autumn, though in the quest for simplicity, Rotner sacrifices some truth. In several cases, the addition of just a few words would have made the following oversimplified statements reflect reality: “Birds grow more feathers”; “Cranberries float and turn red.” Also, Rotner includes the statement “Bees store extra honey in their hives” on a page about animals going into deep sleep, implying that honeybees hibernate, which is false.

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3869-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

HELLO WINTER!

A solid addition to Rotner’s seasonal series. Bring on summer.

Rotner follows up her celebrations of spring and autumn with this look at all things winter.

Beginning with the signs that winter is coming—bare trees, shorter days, colder temperatures—Rotner eases readers into the season. People light fires and sing songs on the solstice, trees and plants stop growing, and shadows grow long. Ice starts to form on bodies of water and windows. When the snow flies, the fun begins—bundle up and then build forts, make snowballs and snowmen (with eyebrows!), sled, ski (nordic is pictured), skate, snowshoe, snowboard, drink hot chocolate. Animals adapt to the cold as well. “Birds grow more feathers” (there’s nothing about fluffing and air insulation) and mammals, more hair. They have to search for food, and Rotner discusses how many make or find shelter, slow down, hibernate, or go underground or underwater to stay warm. One page talks about celebrating holidays with lights and decorations. The photos show a lit menorah, an outdoor deciduous tree covered in huge Christmas bulbs, a girl next to a Chinese dragon head, a boy with lit luminarias, and some fireworks. The final spread shows signs of the season’s shift to spring. Rotner’s photos, as always, are a big draw. The children are a marvelous mix of cultures and races, and all show their clear delight with winter.

A solid addition to Rotner’s seasonal series. Bring on summer. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3976-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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