A solid addition to any classroom library, with the added bonus of a cast that’s wholly people of color. (Early reader. 6-9)

THE BROKEN BEES' NEST

BEEKEEPING

From the Makers Make It Work series

This entry in the Makers Make It Work series elucidates bee biology and beekeeping within an easy-to-read multicultural story.

While searching for the perfect tree to build their treehouse, Arun and his little sister, Keya, stumble upon a damaged feral bees’ nest in an oak. They turn to Dr. Chen, a neighbor who has beehives in her backyard and sells honey at the farmers market. Arun, Keya, and Dr. Chen work together to relocate the bees to another hive and then to harvest and bottle the honey from the original comb. In the end, Arun reclaims the tree for their treehouse and crowns his sister “Queen Bee.” The text is a bit heavy-handed here and there: “Arun checked with his parents first. When their dad said yes, they raced to Dr. Chen’s house.” While these didactic intrusions are well-meant, they weigh down the text, making the story less lively and zippy than the title and the illustrations by Ceolin would suggest. Still, the scientific information contained in both the narrative and supplementary inserts throughout, as well as the suggested “maker” activity in the backmatter (planting a bee-friendly garden), is top-notch. Notably, the feral hive is accurately depicted—a rarity. Arun and Keya’s family seem to be South Asian, and Dr. Chen is probably Chinese. Simultaneously publishing are series companions The Lost and Found Weekend, about sewing; Rocket Rivals , about rocketry; and Slime King, about chemistry.

A solid addition to any classroom library, with the added bonus of a cast that’s wholly people of color. (Early reader. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63592-113-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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Everything that readers have come to love about the Elephant & Piggie books is present—masterful pacing, easy-to-follow,...

MY NEW FRIEND IS SO FUN!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Can Gerald and Piggie’s friendship withstand the friendly overtures of Brian Bat?

When Snake informs Gerald that Piggie is playing with Brian Bat, he is at first complacent. Brian is “nice,” he observes; Snake concurs—after all, he says, “Brian is my Best Friend!” Their mutual reflection that Piggie and Brian “must be having a super-duper fun time!” turns, however, to paranoia when they realize that if their best pals “are having that much fun together, then… / …maybe they do not need us” (that last is printed in teeny-tiny, utterly demoralized type). Gerald and Snake dash/slither to put an end to the fun. Their fears are confirmed when the two new buddies tell them they have “been playing BEST FRIEND GAMES!”—which, it turns out, means making drawings of their respective best friends, Gerald and Snake. Awww. While the buildup to the friends’ confrontation is characteristically funny, there’s a certain feeling of anticlimax to the story’s resolution. How many young children, when playing with a new friend, are likely to spend their time thinking of the friends that they are not playing with? This is unfortunate, as the emotions that Gerald and Snake experience are realistic and profound, deserving of more than a platitudinous, unrealistic response.

Everything that readers have come to love about the Elephant & Piggie books is present—masterful pacing, easy-to-follow, color-coded speech bubbles, hilarious body language—except an emotionally satisfying ending. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7958-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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