Altogether a fresh and masterful contribution to the genres of both haiku and horse.

A collection of haiku with a horse theme is paired with watercolors in this picture book.

The evocative haiku are loosely organized into three groups: “In the Field,” “At the Barn,” and “In Saddle,” with an afterword by author Rosen that explains his creative intent and inspiration in drawing parallels between the horse and the haiku. Each of Rosen’s poems, in proper haiku tradition, captures a momentary impression, and the collection adds up not so much to a storyline as an evocation of place and emotion. Readers who are familiar with horses will feel the full impact, such as the horse’s steaming back when the saddle is removed, although many other haiku are just as effective for readers who must use imagination only. Illustrator Fellows’ richly rendered watercolors are the perfect match, since they too exhibit the expertise and close observation inherent in the haiku. They are done in an earthy palette of greens, blues, browns, and yellows with the occasional dab of bright blue or red, and Fellows’ use of the white paper for highlight and delineation is as masterful as it is deceptively simple. Pencil lines are unabashedly left in, as are drawn-in details that are left without color, reinforcing the illustrations’ fresh, spontaneous feel.

Altogether a fresh and masterful contribution to the genres of both haiku and horse. (Picture book/poetry. 8-14)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8916-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021


Readers can count on plenty of chuckles along with a mild challenge or two.

Rollicking verses on “numerous” topics.

Returning to the theme of her Mathematickles! (2003), illustrated by Steven Salerno, Franco gathers mostly new ruminations with references to numbers or arithmetical operations. “Do numerals get out of sorts? / Do fractions get along? / Do equal signs complain and gripe / when kids get problems wrong?” Along with universal complaints, such as why 16 dirty socks go into a washing machine but only 12 clean ones come out or why there are “three months of summer / but nine months of school!" (“It must have been grown-ups / who made up / that rule!”), the poet offers a series of numerical palindromes, a phone number guessing game, a two-voice poem for performative sorts, and, to round off the set, a cozy catalog of countable routines: “It’s knowing when night falls / and darkens my bedroom, / my pup sleeps just two feet from me. / That watching the stars flicker / in the velvety sky / is my glimpse of infinity!” Tey takes each entry and runs with it, adding comically surreal scenes of appropriately frantic or settled mood, generally featuring a diverse group of children joined by grotesques that look like refugees from Hieronymous Bosch paintings. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Readers can count on plenty of chuckles along with a mild challenge or two. (Poetry/mathematical picture book. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0116-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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