UN-BRELLA

When a little girl decides the weather isn’t to her fancy, an “un-brella” helps to magically change one season to another. In the midst of a wintry scene, this Dora the Explorer look-alike with large, round blue eyes and pigtails and wearing a swimsuit and flippers, opens her un-brella to create a summery luscious green and daisy-covered path through the frigid white snow-blanketed landscape, replacing falling lacy snowflakes with the warm glow of the sun. Similarly, her un-brella will undo the summer’s heat with an icy or snowy trail she creates dressed in her winter coat and skates. Imaginatively reversing seasons may be the way to cope on severely cold or hot days, and this wordless story succeeds in demonstrating a bit of intrigue and originality. Franson offers plenty of details in his geometric and multi-dimensional style collage of seasonal scenes made with foam or textured paper cut-outs in pale hues of blues, lavenders, greens, yellows and white. The open-ended conclusion will spark some think-aloud moments. What will the little girl do when the rainy sprinkles descend on a spring night? One can imagine an auburn-colored autumn pathway of falling leaves. A visual diversion. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 1-59643-179-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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For readers who haven’t a musk ox of their own to snuggle up with, this tale proves just as cozy.

COZY

An agreeable Alaskan musk ox embodies that old Ben Franklin adage, “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.”

When Cozy the ox is separated from his herd in the midst of a winter storm, he decides to wait it out. His massive size and warmth attract small animals—a lemming family and a snowshoe hare—desperate to escape the cold. However, as bigger, predatory creatures arrive, Cozy must lay down some “house rules” that grow with each new creature that arrives until they extend to: “Quiet voices, gentle thumping, claws to yourself, no biting, no pouncing, and be mindful of others!” Over time, the guests grow antsy, but at last spring arrives and Cozy can find his family. The tale is not dissimilar to another Jan Brett tale of cold weather and animals squeezing into a small space (The Mitten, 1989). Meticulous watercolors refrain from anthropomorphizing, rendering everyone, from massive Cozy to the tiniest of lemmings, in exquisite detail. This moving tale of gentle kindness serves as a clarion call for anyone searching for a book about creating your own community in times of trial. Brett even includes little details about real musk oxen in the text (such as their tendency to form protective circles to surround their vulnerable young), but readers hoping for further information in any backmatter will be disappointed. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 37.3% of actual size.)

For readers who haven’t a musk ox of their own to snuggle up with, this tale proves just as cozy. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-10979-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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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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