It takes a village to control light pollution…gently inspirational.


Can Mabel and Grandpa convince others to shut off lights in order to stargaze?

Mabel’s grandfather loves telling tales of the night sky over the prairie where he grew up. Mabel is especially drawn to his stories of stars since she loves looking up at the five stars she can see from her bedroom window and the 19 “from her backyard in a narrow patch of sky.” She and Grandpa take a night walk, seeking the thousands of stars visible during Grandpa’s childhood. They enlist some neighbors to shut off lights and join them—then about 200 stars can be seen. Realizing that more stars will be visible only if the streetlights are temporarily off, Mabel and Grandpa appeal to the mayor—and are refused. Undaunted, the duo begins a campaign flooding the mayor’s office with support from many residents, but she still refuses, citing her commitment to safety even when a police officer and a parks and rec worker contradict her concerns. Finally, Mabel finds a way to the mayor’s heart; the story ends with a community event that promises to become traditional. Graceful, readable text underscores the protagonists’ loving relationship. The art—watercolor washes over ink—is a sweet complement, whether portraying daylight excursions or revelers under the increasingly starry sky. Mabel, Grandpa, and the mayor are white; there are people of color among town employees and residents.

It takes a village to control light pollution…gently inspirational. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9834-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A nursery school approach to a general concept. "A tree is nice"- Why? Because..."We can climb the pirate ship...pick the playhouses out of the leaves. A tree is nice to hang a swing in...Birds build nests in trees... Sticks come off trees...People have picnics there too"...etc. etc. One follows the give and take of a shared succession of reactions to what a tree- or trees- can mean. There is a kind of poetic simplicity that is innate in small children. Marc Simont has made the pictures, half in full color, and they too have a childlike directness (with an underlying sophistication that adults will recognize). Not a book for everyone -but those who like it will like it immensely. The format (6 x 11) makes it a difficult book for shelving, so put it in the "clean hands" section of flat books. Here's your first book for Arbor Day use- a good spring and summer item.

Pub Date: June 15, 1956

ISBN: 978-0-06-443147-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1956

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.


Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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