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SEYMOUR SIMON'S COLORS IN NATURE

An engaging, prismatic kids’ book.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

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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

I LOVE YOU LIKE NO OTTER

The greeting-card art and jokey rhymes work for the baby-shower market but not for the youngest readers.

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring through rhymed puns and sentimental art.

The title sets the scene for what’s to come: The owl asks the owlet as they fly together, “WHOO loves you?”; the kangaroo and joey make each other “very HOPPY”; and the lioness and cub are a “PURRRFECT pair.” Most of the puns are both unimaginative and groanworthy, and they are likely to go over the heads of toddlers, who are not know for their wordplay abilities. The text is set in abcb quatrains split over two double-page spreads. On each spread, one couplet appears on the verso within a lightly decorated border on pastel pages. On the recto, a full-bleed portrait of the animal and baby appears in softly colored and cozy images. Hearts are prominent on every page, floating between the parent and baby as if it is necessary to show the love between each pair. Although these critters are depicted in mistily conceived natural habitats and are unclothed, they are human stand-ins through and through.

The greeting-card art and jokey rhymes work for the baby-shower market but not for the youngest readers. (Board book. 6 mos-2)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-1374-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

Categories:

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2019

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