The poetry may be hit and miss, but the concept is terrific and the illustrations similarly sublime.

BETTER TOGETHER

A compendium of poems designed to teach the concept of mixing...and, of course, to entertain.

Each of the 13 verses is illustrated with a two-page spread, featuring mostly children doing the mixing. "Glue" shows them combining flour and water to make glue for a classroom art project—"Then mix them, squish them, squoosh them, / 'til you get a sticky goo." In "Bubbles," a girl blocks her brother, who wants to give the dog a bath in the washing machine, advising instead that they "Rub and scrub with soapy water, watch the bubbles fly." "Concrete" shows a workman putting sand, gravel, water and cement into the big mixer, as well as a trio of children putting their prints in the new sidewalk (one gets his shoes stuck): "Concrete starts all soft and slushy, / then gets hard—that's clever." Other topics include a makeshift Martian costume for Halloween, cinnamon toast, a ragtag soccer team, salad dressing, mud, music and bedtime; that is, the routine of checking under the bed, a bedtime story, hug and kiss, etc. "Just one more glass of water, / and one more time to pee, / and one more check beneath the bed / for monsters—wait for me." A brief, helpful afterword suggests teaching possibilities provided by the text.

The poetry may be hit and miss, but the concept is terrific and the illustrations similarly sublime. (Picture book. 3-6) 

Pub Date: June 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-55451-279-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2011

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Adults wishing to expand the worldviews of their young charges beyond Eurocentric interpretations will find plenty of visual...

RAPUNZEL

From the Once Upon a World series

A retelling of the classic fairy tale with India as its setting.

This latest addition to the Once Upon A World series tells the well-known story of the maiden with beautiful long tresses locked away in a tower by an evil witch and the prince who falls in love with her. As with Perkins’ Cinderella (illustrated by Sandra Equihua, 2016) and Snow White (illustrated by Misa Saburi, 2016), the text has been simplified for a younger audience, and the distinguishing twist here is its setting in India. The mixed-media illustrations of plants, animals, village life, and, of course, Rapunzel, the witch, and the prince come alive in warm, saturated colors. Other than the visuals, there is little to differentiate the story from traditional tellings. As always, it is still the prince who will eventually lead Rapunzel to her salvation by taking her to his kingdom far away from the witch, but that is the nature of fairy tales. The only quibble with this book and indeed with this series is the board-book format. Given the fact that the audience most likely to enjoy it is beyond the board-book age, a full-size book would have done more justice to the vibrant artwork.

Adults wishing to expand the worldviews of their young charges beyond Eurocentric interpretations will find plenty of visual delights in this one, though they’ll wish it were bigger. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9072-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Lots of detail and complex vocabulary mean most young children won’t linger past check-in at this hotel; older children will...

BUG HOTEL

Bearing the tagline “A lift-the-flap book of discovery,” this board book for older children is meant to inspire garden explorations.

Its inviting house-shaped design with multiple peep-hole windows hints at what children will find inside. The first page explains that “A bug hotel is a multistory homemade habitat where creepy crawlies of all shapes and sizes can find a place to stay!” The benefits of providing accommodations for six different garden critters are then detailed, one per double-page spread. Information about each creature’s ideal environment and how humans can foster that habitat is behind the largest flap on each spread, which also includes a cutout through which the insect can be seen. “Snails come out mainly at night, so a dark and protected habitat helps to keep them cool, happy and safe from predators….” Smaller flaps discuss characteristics of each critter—pollination for bees, metamorphosis for butterflies, etc. The final spread reviews the various materials needed to attract different bugs to the garden. However, there are no instructions included or even websites to consult to assist readers in actually constructing a bug hotel. Birdhouse, published simultaneously using the same format, is somewhat more successful, possibly because birdhouses are more common.

Lots of detail and complex vocabulary mean most young children won’t linger past check-in at this hotel; older children will still need help from a caregiver or teacher . (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61067-766-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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