With modern children learning an elder’s wisdom, this makes for a lovely day out


A current-day Interior Salish girl named Nikki and her two friends spend a day with Yayah, Nikki’s grandmother, learning about edible plants.

Nikki and Yayah are tanning a deer hide when they notice a rainbow blooming across the sky. When neighbors Jamesie Pookins and Lenny join them, Yayah asks if the children know which edible plants are ready to be gathered in the spring. They have many answers: wild rhubarb, wild celery, lightning mushrooms, and more. Even though they admit they don’t like how mushrooms taste, they want to help Yayah gather. Soon, everyone climbs into Auntie Karen’s minivan, and they leave to hunt for plants. As they do, Yayah teaches them which plants are safe to eat and which are not, all the while also teaching them the Nle?kepmxcín words for each plant, too. The dialogue naturally folds helpful pronunciation cues for several of the words into the text, and all words are printed with phonetic pronunciations in the closing glossary. Campbell’s (Interior Salish/Métis) quiet story weaves botanical facts with respect for the natural world, naming the plants in the Nle?kepmxcín language. Flett’s (Cree/Métis) colorful, calming illustrations blend very well with the tone of the text, often gracefully incorporating the pulled-out Nle?kepmxcín in display type. The flowers pop against the dark green grass, the relative smallness of the human figures in the landscape emphasizing their relationship with nature.

With modern children learning an elder’s wisdom, this makes for a lovely day out . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-56656-041-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Crocodile/Interlink

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.


Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day.


Spending a day with Gong Gong doesn’t sound like very much fun to May.

Gong Gong doesn’t speak English, and May doesn’t know Chinese. How can they have a good day together? As they stroll through an urban Chinatown, May’s perpetually sanguine maternal grandfather chats with friends and visits shops. At each stop, Cantonese words fly back and forth, many clearly pointed at May, who understands none of it. It’s equally exasperating trying to communicate with Gong Gong in English, and by the time they join a card game in the park with Gong Gong’s friends, May is tired, hungry, and frustrated. But although it seems like Gong Gong hasn’t been attentive so far, when May’s day finally comes to a head, it is clear that he has. First-person text gives glimpses into May’s lively thoughts as they evolve through the day, and Gong Gong’s unchangingly jolly face reflects what could be mistaken for blithe obliviousness but is actually his way of showing love through sharing the people and places of his life. Through adorable illustrations that exude humor and warmth, this portrait of intergenerational affection is also a tribute to life in Chinatown neighborhoods: Street vendors, a busker playing a Chinese violin, a dim sum restaurant, and more all combine to add a distinctive texture. 

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-429-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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