HOW DO YOU RAISE A RAISIN?

Offering quite a tasty ode to the perfect snack, Ryan raises queries in a little rhymed ditty and then answers in prose. Readers learn, for instance, that 90 percent of raisins sold in the US come from around Fresno, California, and that 95 percent of that crop is the Thompson Seedless grape, named for the man who introduced the Lady de Coverly green seedless grape to California. Facts include how raisins are grown, cut, dried, and processed, some history (the ancient Phoenicians produced muscat raisins from muscat grapes; tiny seedless grapes grown near Corinth, Greece, called raisin de Corauntz, became currants), and even a recipe or three. Brown’s marker-and-pastel pictures are boldly drawn with the same whimsical approach as the verse—drying raisins lie on beach blankets in the sun, and tiny fairy princesses stuff raisin boxes full. One can have one’s chocolate or popcorn; youngsters devoted to those cute little boxes of sweet dried treats will revel in learning all about them. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2003

ISBN: 1-57091-397-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2003

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A warm and necessary message of empowerment for black children, helping them see that raising their hands is a celebration...

HANDS UP!

This picture book offers a different take on a black body raising “hands up.”

Vibrant, colorfully textured illustrations show different displays of black children raising hands, such as playing peekaboo, getting dressed, and other mundane activities. The book follows one little girl as she puts her hands up to do chores, to reach for books on a high shelf at the library, and even to assume the fifth position in ballet class. She holds up her bun as her grandmother does her hair, throws her arms up “in praise and worship,” and hoists a trophy after a victorious basketball game. Riding her bike with her hands up results in a fall, but there is a caring adult there to pick her back up. McDaniel sends a positive and affirming message that normalizes for black children the gesture of raising their hands, redeeming it from the very negative, haunting images of black people raising their hands while being confronted by police. The book closes with a bold illustration of children of all colors raising their hands and holding signs such as “Water = Life,” “Spread Love,” and “Black Lives Matter.” Evans employs a pastel palette that amplifies McDaniel’s sunny message. Outlines are done in purple, blue, brown—there are no literally black marks in this book.

A warm and necessary message of empowerment for black children, helping them see that raising their hands is a celebration of their humanity. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55231-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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THE EARTH BOOK

Parr adds to his successful series of easy-to-understand, vibrantly illustrated stories with this ecologically themed offering for younger children. He uses a simple, repetitive structure written in first person: “I [do this worthwhile activity] / and [this one] because… // I love [this aspect of nature] / and I want [this to happen].” This structural format works well to bring complex issues such as global warming into a simple context that kids can connect with. The text reads smoothly and poetically, but children may need some additional explanation from an adult to understand the logic behind the actions and resulting benefits. The cheerful illustrations include children of all colors (real and make-believe) and recognizable animals with wildly imaginary color schemes. A concluding note from the author offers encouraging words about taking care of the environment, and the reverse of the book jacket includes a list of ten ways to save the Earth. His approach to this complex topic is simple but not simplistic, and this introduction to the subject is both useful and entertaining. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-316-04265-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2010

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