A buoyant tale of scientific enquiry fueled by a proper mix of curiosity and courage.

READ REVIEW

SCAMPERS THINKS LIKE A SCIENTIST

Is that new owl in the garden live or a fake? An intrepid field mouse methodically finds the answer.

When the garden where they love to socialize and chow down acquires a scary new guardian, the mice flee—all but Scampers, who wonders why the owl never moves…not when a rag-doll mouse is temptingly waved about, not when Scampers marches by as a one-mouse band, not even when clobbered by first an egg and then a rock flung from an “eggapult” constructed with help from faithful foil Nibbles. Just to be sure, Scampers hauls off to the nearest woodland to “try this stuff out on another owl,” which behaves very differently. No doubt about it: time to write up their findings (on a poster, with lots of glitter) for presentation to the field-mouse community (“So the vegetable garden owl is a fake owl!”) and lead a charge back to the land of plenty. But when Scampers turns around, only Nibbles has come along. “Well, sometimes a new discovery is so amazing that others need a little time to accept it.” Zechel doesn’t depict a feasible eggapult, but she gives her furry, bright-eyed investigators plenty of personality via anthropomorphic expressions and gestures. Allegra piles on the backmatter, recapping and explaining each step of Scampers’ research, adding info-bits about owls and field mice, and closing with STEM enhancement activities.

A buoyant tale of scientific enquiry fueled by a proper mix of curiosity and courage. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-58469-642-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dawn Publications

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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Readers (and listeners) will think that this book is the bee’s knees.

THE HONEYBEE

Children will be buzzing to learn more about honeybees after reading this story.

Hall takes her readers on a sunny romp through a springtime pasture abuzz with friendly honeybees in this bright and cheerful picture book. Hall’s rhyme scheme is inviting and mirrors the staccato sounds of a bee buzzing. At times, however, meaning seems to take a back seat to the rhyme. The bees are suggested to “tap” while flying, a noise that adult readers might have trouble explaining to curious listeners. Later, the “hill” the bees return to may elicit further questions, as this point is not addressed textually or visually. Minor quibbles aside, the vocabulary is on-point as the bees demonstrate the various stages of nectar collection and honey creation. Arsenault’s illustrations, a combination of ink, gouache, graphite, and colored pencil, are energetic and cheerful. Extra points should be awarded for properly illustrating a natural honeybee hive (as opposed to the often depicted wasp nest). The expressive bees are also well-done. Their faces are welcoming, but their sharp noses hint at the stingers that may be lurking behind them. Hall’s ending note to readers will be appreciated by adults but will require their interpretation to be accessible to children. A sensible choice for read-alouds and STEAM programs.

Readers (and listeners) will think that this book is the bee’s knees. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6997-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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Amusing, yes. Useful for reading practice, yes, but not necessarily guaranteed to make new readers the “read-i-est.” (Early...

WE ARE GROWING!

From the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series

Elephant and Piggie make an appearance to introduce the first in their new series, an egalitarian introduction to superlatives.

Each one of seven blades of talking grass—of a total of eight—discovers that it is superb at something: it’s tallest, curliest, silliest, and so forth. The humor aims to appeal to a broad spectrum. It is slightly disturbing that one being eaten by purple bugs is proud of being the crunchiest, but that will certainly appeal to a slice of the audience. The eighth blade of grass is grappling with a philosophical identity crisis; its name is Walt, a sly reference to Whitman's Leaves of Grass that will go right over the heads of beginning readers but may amuse astute parents or teachers. Tension builds with the approach of a lawn mower; the blades of grass lose their unique features when they are trimmed to equal heights. Mercifully, they are chopped off right above the eyes and can continue their silly banter. Departing from the image of a Whitman-esque free spirit, Walt now discovers he is the neatest. Lots of speech bubbles, repetition, and clear layout make this entry a useful addition to lessons on adjectives and superlatives while delivering a not-so-subtle message that everyone is good at something. Elephant and Piggie's final assertion that “this book is the FUNNIEST” doesn't necessarily make it so, however.

Amusing, yes. Useful for reading practice, yes, but not necessarily guaranteed to make new readers the “read-i-est.” (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-2635-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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