A spot of exquisite rest in an overstimulated world.

THREE LITTLE PEAS

Evocative details make this simple story a quiet delight.

Two peas “pop out” of their pods to “get some air” and end up having a little adventure in the garden. Fleeing from would-be predators, they find a safe place under the ground to hide. Of course, being peas, they end up sprouting into pea plants that create new peas, one of which sets out at the end of the story on its own adventure, thereby continuing the circle of nature. Rivoal’s soft black-and-white etchings (the only color is the green of the peas) render a dreamlike, stylized depiction of vegetation that harkens back to the jungle paintings of fellow French artist Henri Rousseau. This book can only be fully appreciated by lingering on each spread, and the minimal text encourages such close looking. Flora and fauna are detailed with loving care and humor—a carrot with glasses, an expressive turnip and a cat hidden until the mischievous peas point it out are all waiting to be discovered by readers. Depictions of treasures lost (a ring, a key and a toy truck, among others) in the soil enhance the story’s theme of the mystery and magic of the world and the wonder of seeing it through new eyes.

A spot of exquisite rest in an overstimulated world. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59270-155-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world.

YOU ARE HOME WITH ME

This reassuring picture book exemplifies how parents throughout the animal kingdom make homes for their offspring.

The narrative is written from the point of view of a parent talking to their child: “If you were a beaver, I would gnaw on trees with my teeth to build a cozy lodge for us to sleep in during the day.” Text appears in big, easy-to-read type, with the name of the creature in boldface. Additional facts about the animal appear in a smaller font, such as: “Beavers have transparent eyelids to help them see under water.” The gathering of land, air, and water animals includes a raven, a flying squirrel, and a sea lion. “Home” might be a nest, a den, or a burrow. One example, of a blue whale who has homes in the north and south (ocean is implied), will help children stretch the concept into feeling at home in the larger world. Illustrations of the habitats have an inviting luminosity. Mature and baby animals are realistically depicted, although facial features appear to have been somewhat softened, perhaps to appeal to young readers. The book ends with the comforting scene of a human parent and child silhouetted in the welcoming lights of the house they approach: “Wherever you may be, you will always have a home with me.”

Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-224-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A worthwhile message that just doesn't quite fly.

NO TWO ALIKE

A sadly lackluster paean to the premise that “no two snowflakes are alike, / almost, almost… / but not quite.”

Beginning with snowflakes, Baker then branches out to celebrate the uniqueness of other things, some found in nature, some manmade—nests, branches, leaves and forests. “No two fences, long and low, / no two roads—where do they go? / No two bridges, wood or stone, / no two houses— / anyone home?” His ultimate message, arrived at on almost the final page, is that every living thing is one of a kind. While it is certainly an important message, the very young may not make the leap from the animals and things that populate the book to humans, which make no appearance. Baker’s digital illustrations fill the spreads with simple shapes and soft, woodsy colors. The two red birds (rather like crestless cardinals) that fly through this wintry wonderland steal the show. Their expressions are adorable, their antics endearing and rather anthropomorphic—one skis, while the other tries to pelt a fox with snowballs. But they may not be enough to carry the flat text and lack of a story line. Indeed, the book depends on the rhymes and the cute birds to keep the pages turning.

A worthwhile message that just doesn't quite fly. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4424-1742-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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