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 Press

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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LEAVES

A young bear observing his first autumn is captivated by the leaves as they change color from golden to amber. His exuberance and wonder change to worry and consternation when he is unable to replace the first leaf and those that follow to the bare branches. Instinct overtakes him as he gathers a paw full of leaves, finds and fills a hole and burrows in for the winter. When he awakens the following spring, he observes, to his relief, that the leaves have returned to the branches. Seasonal change and animal behavior are simply and freshly conveyed through a young child’s perspective with single-phrase captions and direct, vibrant watercolor illustrations. Bowed, listless branches echo little bear’s down-turned curved shoulders and eyes as he gives up his battle to replace the fallen leaves. Stein does not tread on ground where others often do in over explaining a complex concept. He understands and honors the young, curious mind and allows readers to share the joy of a discovery in text and illustration. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-399-24636-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2007

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ONE BEAN

PLB 0-8027-8649-9 The simple life cycle of a bean provides a practical and understandable example of scientific observation for budding young naturalists. Starting with a hand shown holding a single bean, readers journey full circle from soaking, planting, and watering, to flowering, harvesting, and eating. Uncluttered three-dimensional artwork complements the short, simple text; each stage of the bean’s transformation from seed to vegetable is shown in large scale, drawn so realistically that the texture of the skin seems to show the strain as the bean gets ready to put down roots. This is an ideal book for classrooms where students can’t resist the temptation to keep “checking” on their bean plants. (Picture book/nonfiction. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-8027-8648-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1998

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