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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JOHNNY APPLESEED

Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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