A beautifully illustrated ode for preschoolers.


This illustrated children’s board book celebrates everything wonderful about loblolly pine trees.

In a serene, outdoor setting, where fairies fly and small animals live, there’s a children’s playhouse and tall, loblolly pines. The latter “sway in the breeze,” individually and together, and the text compares their distinct appearance—tall, vertical trunks with branches and needles clustered at the top—to birthday candles, cotton candy, and bottle brushes. They stand together in neighborly groups (“The more the merrier”); their green needles turn brown after they fall off; and they provide shelter and support to birds, holly bushes, and small animals. Their pine cones also resemble pineapples, which the narrator calls “a sign of welcome.” Mommy Moo Moo (Vegetable Chatter, 2016) nicely conveys her appreciation for loblollies and their role in the natural world in understandable but not dumbed-down language; some words (“flexible,” “unison”) may need explanation. The gentle, simple prose in sentences such as “Are you trying to touch the clouds as they go by?” helps create a dreamy sense of wonder. The book has good read-aloud potential, with opportunities, for example, to mimic the trees’ rocking in the whooshing wind. Hill’s lovely, full-page illustrations are greatly appealing—realistic and three-dimensional rather than flat and cartoonlike. His soft colors, well-observed details, and varied perspectives are a real delight.

A beautifully illustrated ode for preschoolers.

Pub Date: Dec. 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9831584-0-0

Page Count: 19

Publisher: Damara Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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