A sweet book for any place with small children in it.

READ REVIEW

BRINGING THE OUTSIDE IN

Four children of diverse ethnicity—and one small dog—cavort through the seasons, backgrounded by rhythmic verses and a simple refrain.

“We’re bringing the outside in, oh, / Bringing the outside in…” begins the book, with a double-page spread showing the children in raincoats, silhouetted against a sky in which the sun has begun to peek out. The pale-skinned girl with eyeglasses and pink raingear is deliberately splashing through a puddle, in nice contrast to her obviously feminine attire. On the next pages, she peers at a worm dangling from the fingers of her male, Asian-American friend (or, perhaps, younger sibling). “Worms in our clutches, / Wind in our hair, / Boots full of puddle, / Mud everywhere!” Finally comes the cleaning phase, in which the children work cooperatively and equally enthusiastically: “Bringing the outside in, then… / Wiping it off, / Mopping it up, / Dumping it out again.” Although most of the gentle, mixed-media illustrations show girls in more passive pursuits than boys, all the children show delightful exuberance as they enjoy each season’s outdoor offerings by playing, collecting treasures, recording memories, and cleaning up. Occasionally, a white adult woman shows up to help, but the focus is on the children. The text, art, and layout magically lure readers into believing that cooperation and cleaning are as natural and enjoyable as playing.

A sweet book for any place with small children in it. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-449-81430-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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Lacking in consistency and coherence, this effort remains an interesting concept unsuccessfully executed.

LITTLE SEED

A LIFE

The life story of a seed is set in a biblical context.

Readers are introduced on the first page to Little Seed, who will serve as the uninspiring and often hard-to-spot main character of this tale. It floats to the ground and is buried in the soil until winter arrives and the earth freezes. Lest readers worry about Little Seed at this point, they are offered the startling—for no religious or spiritual context has been thus far established—reassurance that “God gave Little Seed everything it needed. Its hard coat protected it. Little Seed was safe.” When spring comes, Little Seed’s softened shell splits open, and a sprout and roots begin to grow. At this point, the illustrations present several small seedlings, making it impossible to even identify Little Seed. When summer rolls around, Little Seed has become a sunflower that must reproduce in fall to fulfill its destiny. The final page spread attempts to tie everything together by offering a quotation referencing gardens and seeds from Isaiah 61:11. The illustrations, an unusual mixture of realism and impressionism, are plagued by inconsistencies. The permanent fixtures of Little Seed’s background, for example, seem to change from season to season, though presumably it remains rooted in the same spot.

Lacking in consistency and coherence, this effort remains an interesting concept unsuccessfully executed. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9854090-7-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Graham Blanchard

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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EGG

A graciously illustrated rhyming ode to eggs.

Wrapped in its own firm shell, this compact board book has a solid padded cover and opens onto stiff, matte cardboard pages. Creamy white backgrounds highlight each page’s avian-related vignette, ranging from a greenish-gold “shiny egg” to a “dotted egg” with an elaborately lined, blue iridescent feather nestled in front. Though each page features an accurately drawn egg, there’s enough variation among the depictions—a large tropical flower overhanging a tiny vervain hummingbird egg; a chickadee incubating her eggs; a silly but “sweet” foil-wrapped chocolate egg—that the content feels fresh. Ink drawings in subdued colors are fine and delicate, clearly conveying the subtle differences among each bird species, and eggs and nests manage to look both fragile and solid. Related in two-word rhyming couplets consisting of one descriptor word followed by “egg,” the text achieves a smooth, catchy sound. A useful illustrated key at the back identifies the eggs, though some, like a “sea egg” identified as a great blue heron’s or those of less-familiar birds, such as the cassowary, beg for more context or even a picture of the bird itself. A tall, thin typeset keeps the focus on the lovely eggshells but is hard to read from a distance; sharp corners on the board pages make this case-bound board book unsuitable for the youngest listeners.

Egg-quisite . (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-56846-351-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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