A well-designed, well-written book that offers readers a greater awareness of and sense of relationship to the other...

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BENEATH THE SUN

An engaging peek into how various creatures cope with the hottest of days.

Writing simply but informatively, Stewart takes readers through four different environments—a field, a desert, a wetland and a seashore—showing how some of the inhabitants of each cope during the hottest days of the year. Forging a connection with readers, the book begins by showing children in a suburban environment playing in the sprinkler and sipping lemonade. With a page turn, Stewart introduces the next environment, a field, and how some of its inhabitants—a woodchuck, an earthworm, a spittlebug and a caterpillar—cope with the heat. By including the children in the suburb, Stewart positions humans as simply one species of the many that inhabit the Earth—a notable and appropriate perspective. Bergum’s pleasing, realistic watercolor illustrations include front endpapers that show the sunrise and rear endpapers that mirror them with dusk. The suggestion that the story takes place within the time frame of one day encloses it within comfortable confines familiar to all readers—another element that connects children to the subject. The framing of illustrations within the double-page spreads gives readers a sense of spatiality within the environment depicted.

A well-designed, well-written book that offers readers a greater awareness of and sense of relationship to the other inhabitants in their environments. (Informational picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-56145-733-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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