An engaging, prismatic kids’ book.

SEYMOUR SIMON'S COLORS IN NATURE

A picture book that takes a vivid look at the colors that surround us.

People take colors for granted. After all, how often does one stop to observe a finely shaded sunset, or the deep, juicy red hue of a perfectly plump tomato? This gorgeously written children’s book explores the colors of the world by detailing flora and fauna of every shade of the rainbow (as well as the rainbow itself). Bold images exemplify each color, from red foxes to lavender amethysts. The book also covers hues that may be difficult to see (such as white wolves against snow), and colors that blend together (such as the blush pink of a flamingo). Readers also learn about instances in which nature changes colors, as when leaves turn from green to red and brown in the autumn chill, or when the sky turns from blue to gray when a storm approaches. Simon’s (Earth’s Moon, 2014, etc.) and Nealon’s book doesn’t disappoint. It’s not an easy task to craft a children’s science book that’s comprehensible to younger readers without ever feeling dumbed-down. The authors, though, are masters when it comes to walking this fine line—they know their audience, and they know how to speak to it. They accompany their text with vibrant photos, boasting such images as fiery hot lava spilling over a mountainside; the golden orange markings of a monarch butterfly; the verdant hue of a tall fir tree; and the crisp blue of an iceberg. The authors pepper the tale with questions that add an air of interactivity, encouraging further discussion between parents and children: “Can you spot three indigos? More? / What else will you find when you explore?” These inquiries urge readers young and old to press on, and perhaps venture outdoors for more colorful research of their own. The book’s focus on education may also make it an asset to schools.

An engaging, prismatic kids’ book.

Pub Date: June 8, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 17

Publisher: StarWalk Kids Media

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2014

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Plays to Rowling’s fan base; equally suited for gifting and reading aloud or alone.

THE CHRISTMAS PIG

A 7-year-old descends into the Land of the Lost in search of his beloved comfort object.

Jack has loved Dur Pig long enough to wear the beanbag toy into tattered shapelessness—which is why, when his angry older stepsister chucks it out the car window on Christmas Eve, he not only throws a titanic tantrum and viciously rejects the titular replacement pig, but resolves to sneak out to find DP. To his amazement, the Christmas Pig offers to guide him to the place where all lost Things go. Whiffs of childhood classics, assembled with admirable professionalism into a jolly adventure story that plays all the right chords, hang about this tale of loss and love. Along with family drama, Rowling stirs in fantasy, allegory, and generous measures of social and political commentary. Pursued by the Land’s cruel and monstrous Loser, Jack and the Christmas Pig pass through territories from the Wastes of the Unlamented, where booger-throwing Bad Habits roam, to the luxurious City of the Missed for encounters with Hope, Happiness, and Power (a choleric king who rejects a vote that doesn’t go his way). A joyful reunion on the Island of the Beloved turns poignant, but Christmas Eve being “a night for miracles and lost causes,” perhaps there’s still a chance (with a little help from Santa) for everything to come right? In both the narrative and Field’s accomplished, soft-focus illustrations, the cast presents White.

Plays to Rowling’s fan base; equally suited for gifting and reading aloud or alone. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-79023-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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