A TASTE OF HONEY

"Poppy, where does honey come from?" asks an inquisitive little bear in this charming picture book by the author/illustrator of Apples, Apples, Apples (2000). Grandpa explains it step-by-step, beginning with buying the jar of honey at the local market. Unlike other titles that begin with bees and flowers and work forward to the end product of honey on the table, Wallace uses a clever backward design, starting with a spoonful of honey, explaining how it got to market, came from a honey farm, was pulled from the comb with a honey extractor, and so on. At each step, the child bear asks, "But before that?," lending a read-aloud extra to the simple text. Appealing paper collages in bright primary colors help to illustrate the meaning of the information. Double-paged layouts are visually striking, and young children who aren't ready for words can read the images. A spread of bees filling the honeycombs is especially effective. The honey extractor is shown with labeled parts, and notes explain the specialized clothing of the beekeepers from helmet to the boot bands that keep bees out of pant legs. The author includes information on the bees' waggle dance, kinds of flowers that are used for honey, a honey board game, and interesting honey facts. The book ends as it began, with a question, as Lily asks: "Poppy, where does bread come from?" It is to be hoped that Wallace will tell young readers all about that in a new title equally as fine. (Nonfiction. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-890817-51-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2001

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Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles.

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YOU MATTER

Employing a cast of diverse children reminiscent of that depicted in Another (2019), Robinson shows that every living entity has value.

After opening endpapers that depict an aerial view of a busy playground, the perspective shifts to a black child, ponytails tied with beaded elastics, peering into a microscope. So begins an exercise in perspective. From those bits of green life under the lens readers move to “Those who swim with the tide / and those who don’t.” They observe a “pest”—a mosquito biting a dinosaur, a “really gassy” planet, and a dog whose walker—a child in a pink hijab—has lost hold of the leash. Periodically, the examples are validated with the titular refrain. Textured paint strokes and collage elements contrast with uncluttered backgrounds that move from white to black to white. The black pages in the middle portion foreground scenes in space, including a black astronaut viewing Earth; the astronaut is holding an image of another black youngster who appears on the next spread flying a toy rocket and looking lonely. There are many such visual connections, creating emotional interest and invitations for conversation. The story’s conclusion spins full circle, repeating opening sentences with new scenarios. From the microscopic to the cosmic, word and image illuminate the message without a whiff of didacticism.

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2169-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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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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