A beautifully illustrated and original book that gives youngsters fascinating glimpses into Arctic life.

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NEVER RUB NOSES WITH A NARWHAL

AN ALLITERATIVE ARCTIC ABC BOOK

This illustrated alphabet book by debut author Ruth Wellborn and debut illustrator Morgan Wellborn introduces readers to flora, fauna, people, and sights of the North American Arctic.

Abecedarian children’s books are thick on the ground, but this one stands out for its unusual theme and unexpected vocabulary. For each letter (E and F plus X and Y are combined), the book provides a complete alliterative sentence that refers to the nature and culture of the four North American Arctic regions: Alaska, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. For example, the text for the letter C reads, “A CARIBOU CALF CAPERS THROUGH CLUSTERS OF CLOUDBERRIES.” Each sentence is declarative, providing a consistent structure for the book. Full-color, nicely detailed illustrations show each element of the sentence in realistic, not cartoonish detail, making this book an excellent learning tool as well as beautiful. Vocabulary can be challenging; a “Glossary of Interesting Words” helps define unfamiliar terms, though in ways more suitable to older readers. In the C sentence, for example, cloudberries are described as “an herb native to alpine, Arctic tundra and boreal forests. They produce amber coloured edible fruit similar to a raspberry.” “Tundra” and “boreal,” however, aren’t defined. Other sentences are easier to construe, such as the entry for W: “A WALRUS’S WHISKERS WHITEN AS IT WAITS.” Of special interest are the entries relating to Arctic people and culture. For example, under U, “UNA’S ULU IS A VERY USEFUL UTENSIL,” the illustration shows an old woman slicing salmon with a curved blade, and the glossary explains that an “ulu (or woman’s knife) is a curved all-purpose knife used by the Inuit people. It has many uses and can be used to skin and clean animals, cut hair, prepare food, or trim blocks of snow and ice when building an igloo.” Helpful explanations like this take the book beyond the ABC category, making it appropriate for older readers doing some research. Also included are some statistics, a map, and two pages of “Interesting Facts About the North.”

A beautifully illustrated and original book that gives youngsters fascinating glimpses into Arctic life.

Pub Date: July 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5255-2592-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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