A rollicking, rhyming alphabetical recipe for making successful compost. Aiming at young readers and even younger listeners, Siddals keeps the tone light while providing easy instructions on how everyone can participate in this eco-friendly activity. Bright pictures in collage created with recycled and found items are not only well-executed but recall the texture of the materials and tactile experience of the characters in the book. Wolff features a diverse cast of people of all ages collecting, saving, hauling and tossing ingredients to “[j]ust add to the pot / and let it all rot / into Compost Stew.” Kids will also enjoy spotting the frisky Dalmatian and/or helpful duck on each spread. The title begins with an author’s note explaining the roles of lesser-known items and why they make good compost and closes with a “Chef's Note” cautioning all to pay special attention to local regulations as those presented are general recommendations. Consider this recipe an ideal, accessible title to expand composting information for budding environmentalists. (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-58246-316-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2010

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It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences.


From the Lola & Leo series

Hoping to have a garden like the one in her poetry book, Lola plants seeds, waits and weeds, and finally celebrates with friends.

The author and illustrator of Lola Loves Stories (2010) and its companion titles take their appealing character outside. Inspired by her favorite poem, the nursery rhyme “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” (repeated on the front endpapers), Lola chooses her favorite flowers from library books. Helped by her parents, she grows a grandly diverse flower garden, just right for a celebration with peas and strawberries from the family plot. Beardshaw’s acrylic illustrations show her garden in all its stages. They also show the copper-toned preschooler reading on her mother’s lap, making a flower book, a beaded string with bells and shells, a little Mary Mary doll and cupcakes for the celebration. Her bunchy ponytails are redone, and her flower shirt is perfect for the party. Not only has she provided the setting; she makes up a story for her friends. The simple sentences of the text and charming pictures make this a good choice for reading aloud or early reading alone. On the rear endpapers, the nursery rhyme has been adapted to celebrate “Lola, Lola, Extraordinary.”

It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-58089-694-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.


A middle-aged woman sidelined by a horrific accident finds even sharper pains waiting on the other side of her recuperation in this expert nightmare by Hardy, familiar to many readers as Megan Hart, author of All the Secrets We Keep (2017), etc.

Five months ago, while she was on her way to the hospital with an ailing gallbladder, Diana Sparrow’s car hit a deer on a rural Pennsylvania road. When she awoke, she was minus her gallbladder, two working collarbones (and therefore two functioning arms), and her memory. During a recovery that would’ve been impossible without the constant ministrations of Harriett Richmond, the mother-in-law who’s the real reason Diana married her husband, Jonathan, Diana’s discovered that Jonathan has been cheating on her with her childhood friend Valerie Delagatti. Divorce is out of the question: Diana’s grown used to the pampered lifestyle the prenup she’d signed would snatch away from her. Every day is filled with torments. She slips and falls in a pool of wine on her kitchen floor she’s sure she didn’t spill herself. At the emergency room, her credit card and debit card are declined. She feels that she hates oppressively solicitous Harriett but has no idea why. Her sessions with her psychiatrist fail to heal her rage at her adoptive mother, an addict who abandoned her then returned only to disappear again and die an ugly death. Even worse, her attempts to recover her lost memory lead to an excruciatingly paced series of revelations. Val says Diana asked her to seduce Jonathan. Diana realizes that Cole, a fellow student in her watercolor class, isn’t the stranger she’d thought he was. Where can this maze of deceptions possibly end?

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-470-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Lovely to look at; frustratingly inaccurate.


A brother and sister walk through woods and town, acknowledging autumn and welcoming winter in this picture book.

Expanding on Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn (2016), author/illustrator Pak continues the theme, this time with a black-haired, brown-skinned boy and girl who ramble through woods, town, and countryside as they converse with the trees, birds, horses, sheep, deer, snow, and wind, saying goodbye to fall and hello to winter. The digitally enhanced watercolor-and-pencil illustrations are as quiet and graceful as the slow passage of the seasons. Diversity, both ethnically and culturally (a Kwanzaa kinara, a Jewish menorah, and a star-topped Christmas tree are all included in the illustrative details, as are various colors of people), is well-represented. But many of the nature facts in the text are inaccurate. Cardinals don’t “fly far, far south,” daisies of the type illustrated do not bloom in the late autumn, and autumn evenings (as opposed to nights) are shorter, not longer. Such lapses make the whole story suffer. Factual errors aside, the story flows well—its cadence is serene and accepting, with a pleasant, otherworldly quality that is reinforced by the soft double-spread illustrations.

Lovely to look at; frustratingly inaccurate. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-416-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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