HERE IS THE ARCTIC WINTER

The first painting sets the scene for this dramatic depiction of Arctic wildlife—a vast expanse of barren rock and wind-scoured snow under an immense sky rimmed with stars. On the next spread appear distant four-legged specks, followed by a closer view of three wolves trailing hoofprints in the snow; the sequence explodes into action as caribou flee the pursuing wolves. The perilous beauty of this harsh world is portrayed in icy blue, white, and black, with touches of subtle gold (moon on snow), purple (the back of a cod), and eerie green (northern lights). Several of the watercolors depict seals and narwhals beneath the ice while a polar bear stalks above, sniffing their breathing holes. An odd cumulative text (perhaps intended to reinforce the idea that each creature is a link in a chain of life) slowly fills a frosty column at the left of each spread, but it's neither successful as poetry nor informative (in one case—a narwhal is called ``the whale''—it's confusing). Despite the title, readers will have to turn elsewhere for hard information on the Arctic; still, well worth having for the beauty of the pictures. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: April 12, 1993

ISBN: 1-56282-336-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1993

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JOHNNY APPLESEED

Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles.

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YOU MATTER

Employing a cast of diverse children reminiscent of that depicted in Another (2019), Robinson shows that every living entity has value.

After opening endpapers that depict an aerial view of a busy playground, the perspective shifts to a black child, ponytails tied with beaded elastics, peering into a microscope. So begins an exercise in perspective. From those bits of green life under the lens readers move to “Those who swim with the tide / and those who don’t.” They observe a “pest”—a mosquito biting a dinosaur, a “really gassy” planet, and a dog whose walker—a child in a pink hijab—has lost hold of the leash. Periodically, the examples are validated with the titular refrain. Textured paint strokes and collage elements contrast with uncluttered backgrounds that move from white to black to white. The black pages in the middle portion foreground scenes in space, including a black astronaut viewing Earth; the astronaut is holding an image of another black youngster who appears on the next spread flying a toy rocket and looking lonely. There are many such visual connections, creating emotional interest and invitations for conversation. The story’s conclusion spins full circle, repeating opening sentences with new scenarios. From the microscopic to the cosmic, word and image illuminate the message without a whiff of didacticism.

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2169-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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