Well-intentioned but clunky.

FAST FARM AND SLOW FARM

The methods of two neighboring farmers pit chemical agriculture against naturally grown food.

Thump-Thump Giant raises produce quickly, utilizing a shed full of pesticides and herbicides. He fattens his cows and sheep with chemical-laced feed. Nearby, Grandma Snail raises her crops and animals without chemicals. She works harder than Thump-Thump Giant but shines with confidence in her food’s superior flavor. The farmers sell at side-by-side stands. Both draw customers but for different reasons. The giant’s robust food is cheap, while Grandma Snail’s is both imperfect and delicious. She sells out her crops, but Thump-Thump Giant always has unsold produce left over. The text crams the history of industrial farming into Thump-Thump Giant’s modus operandi. He sprays pesticides on his leftover food, intending to sell later. He packages heat-and-serve, preservative-laden meals for busy people. His Ready Meals are a hit until people sicken from eating them. Grandma Snail, meanwhile, writes a guide to growing and cooking natural foods and shares her farming knowledge with visitors. The didactic narrative is thick with stilted, over-the-top dialogue. “My child got a skin disease after eating Ready Meals!” one customer shouts. “I feel bloated and have indigestion,” another says. At Slow Farm, a diner avows, “I taste the refreshing and sweet flavor of fresh vegetables the more I chew.” Thump-Thump’s predictable reformation follows; pleasantly folk-style depictions of a diverse community elevate the package.

Well-intentioned but clunky. (additional facts, interview, activities) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-939248-20-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: TanTan

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached.

EXTRA YARN

A little girl in a town of white snow and soot-blackened chimneys opens a small box and discovers a never-ending gift of colorful yarn.

Annabelle knits herself a sweater, and with the leftover yarn, she knits one for her dog, and with the yarn left over from that, she knits one for a neighbor and for her classmates and for her teacher and for her family and for the birdhouse and for the buildings in town. All and everything are warm, cozy and colorful until a clotheshorse of an archduke arrives. Annabelle refuses his monetary offers, whereupon the box is stolen. The greedy archduke gets his just deserts when he opens the box to find it empty. It wends its way back to Annabelle, who ends up happily sitting in a knit-covered tree. Klassen, who worked on the film Coraline, uses inks, gouache and colorized scans of a sweater to create a stylized, linear design of dark geometric shapes against a white background. The stitches of the sweaters add a subdued rainbow. Barnett entertained middle-grade readers with his Brixton Brothers detective series. Here, he maintains a folkloric narrative that results in a traditional story arc complete with repetition, drama and a satisfying conclusion.

A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-195338-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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