Textually purposeful and visually appealing, this may be useful to caregivers seeking to reinforce both positive traits and...

READ REVIEW

FROM TREE TO SEA

Qualities found in nature are extolled and parallels drawn to strengths that can help children (and adults) face and overcome challenges.

Thomas’ first-person narration, which some listeners may find preachy and distant, seems intended to represent the voices of the various children pictured throughout. Their voices are similar, however, as each describes the ways that natural elements teach resilience, strength, and bravery, among other characteristics. Trees, for example, “show me how to stand tall,” while “Stones show me how to be strong.” The smoothly written, extremely earnest text is leavened by occasional wordplay: “Oceans show me how to travel far and wide. / I see all there is to see, / but I always return / with a friendly wave.” Neal’s double-page spreads, created in mixed-media and digital, have an appealingly childlike feel and are enlivened by some unexpected perspectives. The progress from day to night and back to dawn offers a logical flow, and a nighttime scene of a tiny boat floating above the shadow of an enormous whale among the reflections of stars and moon is particularly arresting. Characters are depicted with a range of skin tones, and a few glimpses of far-off skyscrapers add a hint of urban flavor to the mostly pastoral settings, but no particular cultural or ethnic group or geographical location is identified.

Textually purposeful and visually appealing, this may be useful to caregivers seeking to reinforce both positive traits and an appreciation for nature, but it’s unlikely to engender much enthusiasm without this kind of deliberate endorsement. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9531-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character

PEDRO, FIRST-GRADE HERO

From the Pedro series , Vol. 1

The creators of the Katie Woo series turn their focus to a peripheral character, first-grader Pedro—Katie’s friend and schoolmate.

Four short chapters—“Pedro Goes Buggy,” “Pedro’s Big Goal,” “Pedro’s Mystery Club,” and “Pedro For President”—highlight a Latino main character surrounded by a superbly diverse cast. At times unsure of himself, Pedro is extremely likable, for he wants to do his best and is a fair friend. He consistently comes out on top, even when his younger brother releases all the bugs he’s captured for a class assignment or when self-assured bully Roddy tries to unite opposition to Pedro’s female opponent (Katie Woo) in the race for first-grade class president. Using a third-person, past-tense narrative voice, Manushkin expands her repertoire by adding a hero comparable to EllRay Jakes. What is refreshing about the book is that for the most part, aside from Roddy’s gender-based bullying, the book overcomes boy-girl stereotypes: girls and boys play soccer, boys and girls run for president, girls and boys hunt for bugs, all setting a progressive standard for chapter books. With mixed-media illustrations featuring colorful bugs, soccer action, a mystery hunt, and a presidential campaign, Lyon’s attention to detail in color and facial expressions complements the story nicely.

This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character . (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5158-0112-2

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Picture Window Books

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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