Rhythmic storytelling and gorgeous illustrations make this a delight.

MY RAINY DAY ROCKET SHIP

Painterly oils accompany rhyming verse to describe one imaginative child’s rainy-day adventure.

A child and the family dog are stuck inside on a wet day and must find alternative ways to entertain themselves. Tried-and-true toys like cars, teddy bears, and balls are fun for a time, but after a while, the youth must find something with a bit more heft. Reaching into the farthest corners of the imagination, the child conjures “a whole new world / in a different place— / a galaxy off in / outer space!” Scanning the room, the child identifies a rocking chair as the perfect rocket ship. To create the launching pad, the child borrows some of Dad’s tools and a cardboard box full of socks. For a cool spacesuit, the child finds some patterned yellow swim trunks and goggles. For a flag, the child uses “Mom’s old dishrag.” With some additional help from Mom and Dad, the launch is an incredible success. An old broom provides thrust down the hall. The child lands perfectly in bed and prepares for a “safe arrival” in the “Land of ZZZZZZs.” The illustrations love this black family, highlighting the glow of their skin and luxuriating in the narrator’s abundant, textured curls. The lavish application of paint—broader than in most picture books—means this will show especially well in a group setting.

Rhythmic storytelling and gorgeous illustrations make this a delight. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6177-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Denene Millner Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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An adorable adventure in cartography.

CAMILLA, CARTOGRAPHER

An exercise of spatial thinking through a snowy forest.

Camilla the warthog collects maps. Maps of stars, New York, even the London Tube. She even owns an ancient map of her forest. Unfortunately for her, she believes all lands have been explored and there is nothing new to chart. However, with a snowy morning comes a new opportunity. When her hedgehog neighbor, Parsley, asks for her help in finding the creek, Camilla quivers with excitement when she realizes the snow-covered land “is uncharted territory.” With all landmarks covered in snow, Camilla and Parsley must use their spatial-reasoning skills and a compass to find a new way to the creek. Their trailblazing journey proves a challenge as they keep bumping into trees, rocks, and walls. But when they find the creek, Camilla will have all the information and tools ready to draw out a new map, to break out in case of another snowfall. Wood’s delightful illustrations and Dillemuth’s expertise in the matter engage readers in the woodland creatures’ adventures. In addition, Dillemuth, who holds a doctorate in geography, provides activities in the backmatter for parents and caregivers to help children develop their own spatial-reasoning skills, such as sketching and reading maps or using cardinal directions.

An adorable adventure in cartography. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4338-3033-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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