THE SEA, THE STORM, AND THE MANGROVE TANGLE

In a beautiful, lush tribute to mangroves, the artwork lures the reader right into the midst of the scenery. A seed from a mangrove tree floats on the sea until it comes to rest on the shore of a faraway lagoon where, over time, it becomes a mangrove island that shelters many birds and animals even during a hurricane. And the cycle begins again. While the message is clear, it is the splendid, realistic illustrations of marine life akin to the author’s near classic The Great Kapok Tree (1990) that generate appreciation and awareness of the endangered mangroves. The only trees that can grow in salty seawater, they are being damaged by proliferating shrimp farms and tourist sites—Miami Beach used to be a mangrove island. The author’s note explains how beneficial they are and makes a plea to save the mangroves by writing support letters. Despite the idea that the creatures that find a home in, on, or under the tree speak in first person, this is an ecology lesson, a teacher’s aide, and a gratifying nature story. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2004

ISBN: 0-374-36482-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2004

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LIBRARY LION

Knudsen and Hawkes pick a perfect setting to express the idea that breaking rules can sometimes be a good thing. When a lion wanders into a small town public library the Head Librarian, Miss Merriweather, brushes off the protestations of her realistically officious colleague Mr. McBee and allows it to stay—so long as it keeps quiet, doesn’t run and makes itself useful cleaning books and licking envelopes while waiting for storytime to begin. Anxious-looking patrons of all ages quickly become accepting ones in Hawkes’s soft toned watercolors, and if Miss Merriweather’s hair and dress seem a bit stereotypical, occasional CRT monitors balance glimpses of rubber date stamps and a card catalog in his gracious, old style interiors. When Miss Merriweather takes a fall, the lion roars to attract help, then slinks out in shame—but McBee redeems himself by bustling out into the rain to inform the offender that Exceptions to the Rules are sometimes allowed. Consider this a less prescriptive alternative to Eric A. Kimmel’s I Took My Frog to the Library (1990), illustrated by Blanche Sims—and it doesn’t hurt that the maned visitor is as huge and friendly looking as the one in James Daugherty’s classic Andy and the Lion. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-7636-2262-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2006

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DIARY OF A WORM

Each turn of the page will bring fresh waves of giggles as a young worm records one misadventure after another. He tries to teach his arachnid friend how to dig a tunnel; learns the peril of hanging out on a sidewalk during a game of hopscotch; suffers a nightmare from eating too much garbage before bedtime; makes a one-piece macaroni necklace in art class; earns a parental reprimand for telling his older sister that “no matter how much time she spends looking in the mirror, her face will always look just like her rear end,” and much, much more. Bliss gives this limbless young diarist a face and an identifying red cap, adds plenty of sight gags, and just to set the tone, plasters (painted) snapshots on the endpapers captioned “My favorite pile of dirt,” “My report card” (“Needs to resist eating homework”), etc., etc. Readers will come away with the insight that worms may not be so good at walking upside down or doing the Hokey Pokey, but they do play an important role in taking care of the Earth. Not so different from us, after all. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-000150-X

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2003

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