A handsome and satisfying companion to Market Maze (2015).

READ REVIEW

MASTERPIECE MIX

Looking for a fresh and inviting introduction to academic painting genres such as still life, portrait, or landscape? Why not bring readers inside an artist’s studio (perhaps author/illustrator Munro’s own?) and actually show them the process?

Munro begins with preparations to paint: stretching and gessoing canvas, selecting the right tubes of colors, choosing brushes, palette knives, and solvents, setting up a palette for painting, and so on. It’s lots of work…but the really hard part about painting is deciding just what to paint. In demonstrating her decision-making process, Munro uses 37 iconic and inspiring examples of fine art, each illustrating a genre for consideration, all drawn from the open-access collection of the National Gallery of Art and all representing an energizing variety of European and American artists, eras, media, and styles. She cleverly brings all these images together in a detailed, ambitious, culminating ink-and-acrylic cityscape. This signature image of an art-bedecked, lively metropolis also works as an art scavenger hunt. As readers discover the art embedded in a landscape, they can refer to the smart, concise, marvelously amplifying backmatter.

A handsome and satisfying companion to Market Maze (2015). (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3699-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Lots of detail and complex vocabulary mean most young children won’t linger past check-in at this hotel; older children will...

BUG HOTEL

Bearing the tagline “A lift-the-flap book of discovery,” this board book for older children is meant to inspire garden explorations.

Its inviting house-shaped design with multiple peep-hole windows hints at what children will find inside. The first page explains that “A bug hotel is a multistory homemade habitat where creepy crawlies of all shapes and sizes can find a place to stay!” The benefits of providing accommodations for six different garden critters are then detailed, one per double-page spread. Information about each creature’s ideal environment and how humans can foster that habitat is behind the largest flap on each spread, which also includes a cutout through which the insect can be seen. “Snails come out mainly at night, so a dark and protected habitat helps to keep them cool, happy and safe from predators….” Smaller flaps discuss characteristics of each critter—pollination for bees, metamorphosis for butterflies, etc. The final spread reviews the various materials needed to attract different bugs to the garden. However, there are no instructions included or even websites to consult to assist readers in actually constructing a bug hotel. Birdhouse, published simultaneously using the same format, is somewhat more successful, possibly because birdhouses are more common.

Lots of detail and complex vocabulary mean most young children won’t linger past check-in at this hotel; older children will still need help from a caregiver or teacher . (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61067-766-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Prospective younger visitors can do better than this bland mush.

MY FIRST BOOK OF NEW YORK

A scan of landmarks, neighborhoods, food, and other attractions in the Big Apple.

Perfunctory efforts to give this tour at least a pretense of geographic or thematic unity only add to its higgledy-piggledy character. Arrhenius (City, 2018, etc.) opens with a full-page view of the Brooklyn Bridge soaring over an otherwise-unidentifiable cityscape opposite a jumble of eight smaller images that are, for all that one is labeled “Brooklyn Academy of Music” and another “Coney Island,” are likewise so stylized as to look generic. From there, in the same one-topic-per-spread format, it’s on to Manhattan uptown and down for “Rockefeller Center,” “Shopping,” and other random bites. The “Harlem” spread features a fire hydrant, a mailbox, and the (actually distant) Cloisters museum, for instance, and a glance into “Queens” offers glimpses of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, a “Greek restaurant,” a “Mexican restaurant,” and “marathon runners.” The large trim size and aesthetic mimic M. Sasek’s perennial This Is New York (1960, revised edition 2003) while adding much-needed updates with both more diverse arrays of dress and skin hues for the stylized human figures as well as the addition of sites such as the Stonewall Inn, the 9/11 memorial, and the Fearless Girl statue.

Prospective younger visitors can do better than this bland mush. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0990-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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