CALL ME TREE / LLÁMAME ÁRBOL

An exquisitely crafted call to honor ourselves, one another and the natural world.

The author of I Know the River Loves Me / Yo sé que el río me ama (2009) offers a bilingual picture book that presents the triumphant journey from seed to tree, conveying a deep appreciation for nature.

A seed, depicted as a little child, nestles deep underground. The child wakes up and grows into a strong tree, free yet rooted. Upon waking, the child sees other trees, presented on the page as an array of ethnically diverse children, standing and moving in their own ways. The text is brief, lyrical, and equally expressive in both the English and Spanish. “Some sing songs / Some sing along / All trees have roots / All trees belong // Unos cantan canciones / Otros se unen al coro / Todos los árboles tienen raíces / Todos los árboles tienen un lugar.” Reading the text aloud invites the incorporation of creative movement, such as yoga or dance, and is sure to engage younger and older children alike. Visionary illustrations stretch vibrant colors across the pages, with details that encourage readers to sit with the book and explore. Most notably, the author/illustrator excels at using few words to evoke grand imagery, relaying a powerful message to children: We are all our own trees—equal, vital and free.

An exquisitely crafted call to honor ourselves, one another and the natural world. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-89239-294-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

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. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

CAMILLA, CARTOGRAPHER

An adorable adventure in cartography.

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 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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