Awe-inspiring, exquisitely rendered, indeed “unforgettable.” (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-9)

OUT OF THE WOODS

A TRUE STORY OF AN UNFORGETTABLE EVENT

In 1914, a 4-year-old boy living in Gowganda, Ontario, witnesses a forest fire that forces people and animals into a nearby lake to survive.

Bond recounts this true story of her grandfather Antonio, who grew up in a rural, lakeshore hotel his mother operated. Antonio spends his time helping hotel staff, peeking into guests’ rooms, hanging out with lumberjacks, trappers, and silver miners, and exploring the dense forest looking for animals. One dry summer day, a forest fire quickly spreads toward the hotel. To escape, everyone rushes into the lake, soon followed by rabbits, foxes, bobcats, raccoons, wolves, deer, moose, porcupines, elk, squirrels, possums, and bears fleeing from the woods. To Antonio’s amazement, people and animals “stood close enough to touch.” Eventually, the fire dies down, the people return to the still-standing hotel, and the animals depart. Delicate watercolor-and–pen-and-ink illustrations bring palpable realism to this vivid imagined memory. Pale sepia, gray, and green washes combine with fine-lined figures to evoke the nostalgic feel of old etchings. Scenes of boisterous boarders in the dining room contrast with images of the same shocked men knee-deep in the lake watching the flaming red sky. Sensitively drawn animals, tentatively and nervously waiting together in shared peril with humans, speak volumes.

Awe-inspiring, exquisitely rendered, indeed “unforgettable.” (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: July 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-38077-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

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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Informative, empowering, and fun.

ROX'S SECRET CODE

Girl power abounds in this book about coding that introduces young readers to the world of programming while offering them hands-on activities via a companion app.

In this title that was first introduced as a customizable, personalized print-on-demand product, Rox has a superpower. Using code, she programs toy robots that can do things like make broccoli disappear—or mischief. When Dad tells Rox to clean her room, she quickly thinks up a bot that will do it for her, writing code that instructs her bot to use artificial intelligence to sort objects by color and type. Though Rox knows that there’s a high potential for her creation to rebel, the perks outweigh any potential adverse effects. Rox’s robot has her room neat and tidy in no time—and then the entire home. Chorebot’s AI allows it to keep learning, and it seems Chorebot can do no wrong until the robot decides to rearrange the entire city (both buildings and people) by type, style, and gender. Chorebot goes “out of his artificial mind!” Rox must now stop her creation…without the assistance of the internet. The artwork, styled in the tradition of popular superhero series, is peppy and colorful, and it depicts Rox as an adorable black girl donning a black bomber jacket and a pink tutu. A companion app (not available for review) allows readers to create a bot of their own.

Informative, empowering, and fun. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-57687-899-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: POW!

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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