A prettily packaged bit of environmentalism for the youngest readers from a writing team of children’s health advocates.

EVERY BREATH WE TAKE

A BOOK ABOUT AIR

Sentences of large-print text and colorful stock photographs move from the ubiquity of air to pollution to fighting pollution.

After an upbeat foreword from actor Julianne Moore, who mentions, among other things, that “kids are smart,” it is a letdown to realize that most of the pages that follow are generalized truisms about air that only the youngest children may not have grasped—that air goes out “when a baby screams”; that all creatures and all plants need air; that wind is moving air; that air carries sounds and smells. The book then amps up the complexity with the statement that “air looks and smells bad when it is dirty. That’s called air pollution.” Nevertheless, an older child might enjoy reading the book to a younger one and explaining such photographs as one with solar panels and another showing a child using an inhaler. Both text and photographs are winners in terms of gender equality, multiculturalism, and ethnic diversity. After the final comparison of clean air to love, there are two pages with a little more specific information, such as a simple explanation of air’s composition and the cool fact that children take about twice as many breaths as adults. However, even here there are too many sentences reiterating the fact that clean air is important.

A prettily packaged bit of environmentalism for the youngest readers from a writing team of children’s health advocates. (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-58089-616-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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Excellent for stimulating creative-thinking, art, and writing activities.

INSIDE CAT

A cat gazes in wonderment at the world outside.

Wide-eyed, blue-collared, brown-and-black Inside Cat (who looks like a sinuous set of scribbles with pointy ears and large, googly eyes) peers from numerous windows in its large city dwelling. What sights there are to behold as Inside Cat leisurely, repeatedly “Wanders. Wonders” around, looking out of windows square, round, thin, wide, and otherwise diverse in shape, size, color, and/or spatial arrangement. From assorted vantage points, Inside Cat views fascinating people, objects, creatures, and activities. If Inside Cat has only a partial understanding of what it sees (“fluffy rats” are squirrels; “roaring flies” are helicopters), it fills in the scenes with imaginary details that, delightfully, appear in pale lines on the white interior walls surrounding the windows. Inside Cat explores the world via window on every floor of its house so regularly that it knows all there is to know about the world inside and out. But…don’t be surprised when the final, full-color page leaves you breathless—as it does our protagonist; one wonders why this feline remained indoors so long. This delicious charmer, told in simple, rhythmically lilting verse as light-footed as a cat, develops vocabulary and reinforces basic concepts like shape and size, directional and spatial relationships. The wonderful, loose illustrations were created with mixed media, each employed expertly to delineate the varied perspectives presented all at one time.

Excellent for stimulating creative-thinking, art, and writing activities. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7319-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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