A story that milks the mushy, with just enough creative juice to keep the pages turning.

MILK AND JUICE

A RECYCLING ROMANCE

Inside a refrigerator, nestled among Tupperware and tomatoes, a slim juice bottle and rotund milk jug fall in love.

The genders of the anthropomorphic plastic vessels are not specified. The pair are separated when a child with light skin and textured hair takes Juice to the recycling bin. At the recycling center, Juice is transformed into a different container and then ends up in the home of a White child with golden hair. Juice continues pining for Milk throughout various recycling transformations. Milk is also recycled many times, each metamorphosis taking it to another part of the world; one double-page spread shows Milk desperately calling Juice’s name in 22 languages as artwork employing continuous narration captures the global journey. Perpetually thwarted in love, the synthetic soul mates fall into deep despair until a surprising twist of fate reunites them. The protagonists’ dialogue appears in speech bubbles while the succinct narration appears as regular text. Reminiscent of a rom-com, this tale has an unrealistically sweet ending and a predictable plot, but Brown effectively uses humor, comic-book conventions, and a sentimental color palette to evoke interest. Even though the subtitle tags this picture book as a love story, it also succeeds as an inspiring introduction to recycling, an ode to persistence, and a light parable on the immutability of the heart.

A story that milks the mushy, with just enough creative juice to keep the pages turning. (illustrated recycling explanation.) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-302185-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

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. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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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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