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The change of seasons from fall to winter makes a captivating bedtime story as Mother Nature tries to tuck in her wild child, Autumn. This child will do anything to stay up; when she complains that she needs a song, her mother provides one that includes acorns splattering, leaves crinkling, and birds twittering. Next the child needs a treat, and after she has munched on a bounty of cranberries, nuts, and pumpkins, she has to change into her pajamas. These nightclothes are the flame colors of autumn leaves with orange slippers to match. Before she can really fall asleep, the child demands a goodnight kiss. This “frosty kiss” is necessarily cold and frozen, foreshadowing the next season, but to readers, the effect of such a somber kiss from mother to child is chilling, or at least less than comforting. Finally the child yawns and curls up to sleep, but the mother will not be resting, for another child, Winter, arrives and “can’t sleep.” Couch’s absorbing illustrations match the allegorical aspect of the poetic text, and both transport readers with images of unusual clarity and depth. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-689-81552-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1999

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This modest, agreeable entry in the My First Look At series shows the life cycle of a mallard duck nesting in an urban park. The text is cumulative, so the line on the first page, “This is the park where Paul plays,” is echoed on the second, “These are the ducks that swim in the park where Paul plays.” In the spring the ducks arrive; they grow all summer long, and fly away in the autumn. Listeners will enjoy the spare, rhythmic telling, while the softly colored drawings of Paul, a shaggy-haired preschooler, are appealing. Additional information, obviously aimed at older readers or for adults to share with children, appears under the flap on each page. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-55074-613-8

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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From the tunnels of ants to the Chunnel connecting England with France, this lively tour of constructed tunnels highlights their variety as it explores their uses and manufacture. Hunter (Into the Sky, 1998, etc.) urges readers along, sprinkling a compact text with entertaining facts—“If you take a train from New York to Los Angeles, you’ll go through 65 mountain tunnels”—and asides. Miller’s cross-sectional illustrations are rendered with solid colors, long, straight lines, and sharp color boundaries, for an orderly, layered look that conveys plenty of activity without seeming cluttered. Younger fans of the wheeled vehicles that are visible here in profusion will want repeat readings. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-8234-1391-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1999

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