Two fertile imaginations grow a grand salute.

THE GREAT BIG GREEN

An abundantly illustrated puzzle poem provides a spectacular celebration of green in the world.

The author of the Moxy Maxwell chapter-book trilogy offers something completely different in this lush tribute. An opening line sets the conversational tone: “The thing is, / the thing is green.” She goes on to provide examples of “mean green,” “dark and dangerous green” and “green things / that are good for you.” Her examples aren’t just things that grow; there are green socks, a green light for “go” and an old green door. The text reads aloud beautifully, building to the question, “Have you guessed yet?” and the final answer, revealed not in words but in a familiar image of Earth from space, with previous elements cleverly placed. Desimini’s imaginative illustrations complement and extend the graphically flexible text. Done with scanned textures and images combined into mixed-media collages, these are both realistic and imaginative, full of whimsy. Two young children, one dark-skinned, one light-, explore a world in which the range of green colors is remarkable and balanced with some surprises. There are the orange and tan of a green-eyed tiger, the red of a ladybug or a tree-frog’s eyes, and pink-purple skies. Readers will want to identify every fruit and vegetable and look for added elements (a snatch of “Greensleeves” in musical notation, for example).

Two fertile imaginations grow a grand salute. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62091-629-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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A visual feast teeming with life.

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A FLOWER?

A young urbanite romps through floral fields and deep into a flower’s anatomy, exploring humanity’s connection to nature.

A solo car travels away from the dense, gray cityscape. Mountains rise up, full of pattern and light, before revealing a fluorescent field of flowers. A child bursts from the car across the page, neon-rainbow hair streaming in the wind, as both child and place radiate joy and life. The brown-skinned, blue-eyed youngster breathes in the meadow and begins an adventure—part Jamberry, part “Thumbelina,” and part existential journey as the child realizes the life force running through the veins of the flower is the same that runs through all of us, from the water that sustains to the sun that grows. Harris’ colored-pencil illustrations are full of energy and spontaneity. His use of patterning and graphic symbology evoke Oaxacan design, yet the style is all his own. The text is equally enthusiastic: “Have you ever seen / a flower so deep / you had to shout / HELLO / and listen for an echo / just to know / how deep it goes?” The text shifts abruptly from metaphor to metaphor, in one spread the flower likened to a palace and a few pages later, to human anatomy. Nevertheless, like the protagonist and the natural environment, readers will feel themselves stretch and bloom.

A visual feast teeming with life. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4521-8270-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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