A serene, joyous appreciation of our place in the natural world.

GREET THE DAWN

THE LAKOTA WAY

Past and present meet in a hymn to the Lakota Circle of Life.

Contemporary Lakota kids board a school bus at daybreak while "Father Sun gives warmth to Mother Earth. / Meadowlark sings her song as swallows fly above." The day, with its crickets and dragonflies, whispering winds and rainbows, unfolds and circles toward evening and the rising of Sister Moon. Lines of text arc across scenic renderings of earth and sky in double-page spreads filled with figures based on ledger-books drawings and geometric patterns adapted from bead- and quillwork. Nelson, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, skillfully melds modern and traditional images of people in lush acrylics painted on textured paper. Interspersing the story are songs in the Lakota language, placed alongside English translations. These lovely bits of verse ("At dawn / may I roam / against the winds / may I roam") accompanied by colorful depictions of the ancestors singing and drumming in a circle enhance the connection between generations. The author spells out the philosophy of the Circle of Life in an introduction that is both a celebration of the Lakota Way for those attuned to it and an explanation for those outside of this tradition.

A serene, joyous appreciation of our place in the natural world. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9845041-6-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: South Dakota State Historical Society Press

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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RAIN SCHOOL

It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

SYLVIA'S SPINACH

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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