BABY'S BOOK OF NATURE

The generous use of bright full-color photos of fuzzy ducklings, kittens, and flowers in this concept book will appeal to babies, but the fussy layout, vocabulary, and concepts are not very accessible to the young. A typical spread shows objects in thin frames of color; in the one labeled ``Color in Nature,'' fish swim beyond their borders into autumn leaves, and the parrots look ready to eat the butterflies. Size is not taken into consideration as part of perceptual realism—a flower looks as large as the goose. Flather provides marvelous woodcut-like endpapers; on these are tiny framed objects that also appear in the corners of every spread. The color reproduction is vivid if inaccurate: ``orange mandarin'' and ``yellow dandelion'' appear side by side as the same color. ``Animal Moves,'' introduces vocabulary: fluttering butterfly, waddling ducks, etc., but these are still photos, making the action word useless. ``Get Together'' offers opportunities for caregivers and babies to interact, perhaps with difficulty, e.g., few babies can categorize a wild rose and an allium as flowers, or butterflies and beetles as insects. There is a need for concept books for babies, but this does not meet the high standards set by Tana Hoban (Spirals, Curves, Fanshapes and Lines, 1992, etc.) and others. (Nonfiction. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-7894-0003-0

Page Count: 21

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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JOHNNY APPLESEED

Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it.

THE OLD BOAT

A multigenerational tale of a boat’s life with a Black family, written by two brothers who loved similar boats.

In the opening spread, a smiling, brown-skinned adult dangles a line from the back of a green-and-white boat while a boy peers eagerly over the side at the sea life. The text never describes years passing, but each page turn reveals the boy’s aging, more urban development on the shore, increasing water pollution, marine-life changes (sea jellies abound on one page), and shifting water levels. Eventually, the boy, now a teenager, steers the boat, and as an adult, he fishes alone but must go farther and farther out to sea to make his catch. One day, the man loses his way, capsizes in a storm, and washes up on a small bay island, with the overturned, sunken boat just offshore. Now a “new sailor” cleans up the land and water with others’ help. The physical similarities between the shipwrecked sailor and the “new sailor” suggest that this is not a new person but one whose near-death experience has led to an epiphany that changes his relationship to water. As the decaying boat becomes a new marine habitat, the sailor teaches the next generation (a child with hair in two Afro puffs) to fish. Focusing primarily on the sea, the book’s earth-toned illustrations, created with hundreds of stamps, carry the compelling plot.

A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00517-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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