AT THE BEACH

POSTCARDS FROM CRABBY SPIT

Harvey offers a set of aerial beach scenes for less maniacal Where’s Waldo? fans to pore over, featuring several dozen tiny vacationers sunning themselves, playing in the sand, visiting the nearby hamlet or generally mucking about. The views are linked by a series of inset, chatty postcards from the children of one family. They bear, along with casual mentions of cricket games and the Southern Cross, UFOs and sea monsters, references to some of the more amusing goings-on visible to viewers with sharp eyes: “Mr. McIntosh was chased by a shark. It must have been scared off by the taste of his shorts. And I saw a bird drop a poo on a kid’s hand.” Pair this read-between-the-lines tale with such similar epistolary outings as Jerdine Nolen’s Plantzilla Goes To Camp, illustrated by David Catrow (March 2006) or the granddaddy of them all, Alan Sherman and Lou Busch’s Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah (A Letter From Camp), illustrated by Jack E. Davis (2004). (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-74114-412-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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THE FANTASTIC UNDERSEA LIFE OF JACQUES COUSTEAU

This second early biography of Cousteau in a year echoes Jennifer Berne’s Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau (2008), illustrated by Eric Puybaret, in offering visuals that are more fanciful than informational, but also complements it with a focus less on the early life of the explorer and eco-activist than on his later inventions and achievements. In full-bleed scenes that are often segmented and kaleidoscopic, Yaccarino sets his hook-nosed subject amid shoals of Impressionistic fish and other marine images, rendered in multiple layers of thinly applied, imaginatively colored paint. His customarily sharp, geometric lines take on the wavy translucence of undersea shapes with a little bit of help from the airbrush. Along with tracing Cousteau’s undersea career from his first, life-changing, pair of goggles and the later aqualung to his minisub Sea Flea, the author pays tribute to his revolutionary film and TV work, and his later efforts to call attention to the effects of pollution. Cousteau’s enduring fascination with the sea comes through clearly, and can’t help sparking similar feelings in readers. (chronology, source list) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 24, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-375-85573-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2009

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Readers (and listeners) will think that this book is the bee’s knees.

THE HONEYBEE

Children will be buzzing to learn more about honeybees after reading this story.

Hall takes her readers on a sunny romp through a springtime pasture abuzz with friendly honeybees in this bright and cheerful picture book. Hall’s rhyme scheme is inviting and mirrors the staccato sounds of a bee buzzing. At times, however, meaning seems to take a back seat to the rhyme. The bees are suggested to “tap” while flying, a noise that adult readers might have trouble explaining to curious listeners. Later, the “hill” the bees return to may elicit further questions, as this point is not addressed textually or visually. Minor quibbles aside, the vocabulary is on-point as the bees demonstrate the various stages of nectar collection and honey creation. Arsenault’s illustrations, a combination of ink, gouache, graphite, and colored pencil, are energetic and cheerful. Extra points should be awarded for properly illustrating a natural honeybee hive (as opposed to the often depicted wasp nest). The expressive bees are also well-done. Their faces are welcoming, but their sharp noses hint at the stingers that may be lurking behind them. Hall’s ending note to readers will be appreciated by adults but will require their interpretation to be accessible to children. A sensible choice for read-alouds and STEAM programs.

Readers (and listeners) will think that this book is the bee’s knees. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6997-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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