A warm celebration of both small farms and the idea that it takes a village to feed a child.

BEFORE WE EAT

FROM FARM TO TABLE

A simple poem thanking the people who grow, transport, sell and prepare our food is transformed by Azarian’s bright woodcuts.

Upon a verdant, wood-bordered field sits the proverbial groaning board, replete with tablecloth and candles; seated around it are people of diverse ages, genders and ethnicities. This opening image effectively sets the stage with its pleasing composition, exciting patterns and exquisite details. Awkwardly laid out under this strong opening, spread-spanning illustration is the prosaic but certainly accessible-to-all introduction: “As we sit around this table / let’s give thanks as we are able / to all the folks we’ll never meet / who helped provide this food we eat.” The text is set along white borders of both single- and double-paged artwork. It’s essentially a secular grace chanted beneath furrowed fields, glistening seas and a harvest scene that includes a worker with an “Eat more kale” T-shirt. Old and young, men and women alike roll up their sleeves and get to work without regard to typical gender roles. Eggs, milk and honey are gently collected, sows eat, and cattle graze; in keeping with the reverential mood, only butchers are absent from the list of workers. One thoughtful sentence stands out: “Thank the ones who bought this food, / the ones who teach me gratitude.”

A warm celebration of both small farms and the idea that it takes a village to feed a child. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-88448-352-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences.

LOLA PLANTS A GARDEN

From the Lola & Leo series

Hoping to have a garden like the one in her poetry book, Lola plants seeds, waits and weeds, and finally celebrates with friends.

The author and illustrator of Lola Loves Stories (2010) and its companion titles take their appealing character outside. Inspired by her favorite poem, the nursery rhyme “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” (repeated on the front endpapers), Lola chooses her favorite flowers from library books. Helped by her parents, she grows a grandly diverse flower garden, just right for a celebration with peas and strawberries from the family plot. Beardshaw’s acrylic illustrations show her garden in all its stages. They also show the copper-toned preschooler reading on her mother’s lap, making a flower book, a beaded string with bells and shells, a little Mary Mary doll and cupcakes for the celebration. Her bunchy ponytails are redone, and her flower shirt is perfect for the party. Not only has she provided the setting; she makes up a story for her friends. The simple sentences of the text and charming pictures make this a good choice for reading aloud or early reading alone. On the rear endpapers, the nursery rhyme has been adapted to celebrate “Lola, Lola, Extraordinary.”

It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-58089-694-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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An engaging story arguing for the marriage of technology with creativity and play.

DOLL-E 1.0

A young girl receives a puzzling gift.

Young Charlotte has always been the most tech-savvy member of her family, helping her mother with a tablet and her father with the smart TV. After Charlotte’s parents observe a news report cautioning against letting kids get “too techy,” the couple presents Charlotte with a doll. The doll doesn’t move or think—it simply sits and utters the word “Ma-ma.” Charlotte reasons that for a doll to talk it must have a power supply, and with a few modifications and a little imagination, Charlotte’s doll becomes Doll-E 1.0. The STEM-friendly narrative is brought to life with charming pencil-and-watercolor illustrations, edited in Photoshop. The scratchy lines are reminiscent of the pictures children like Charlotte sketch at their drawing boards, and the dynamic compositions burst with energy. Charlotte is an engaging character, expressive and thoughtful in equal measure. Charlotte’s doll is adorably rendered, looking mostly like any other common doll but just unique enough that little ones may want one of their own. Charlotte and her family present white; little dog Bluetooth is a scruffy, white terrier.

An engaging story arguing for the marriage of technology with creativity and play. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-51031-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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