Absolutely stellar.

READ REVIEW

SPACE ADVENTURE

From the Zoom series

Space adventurer Ava explores the solar system and gets home in time for supper.

This spectacular space jaunt is a top-tier blend of adventure and information, creatively conveyed. Bright colors, inventive use of die-cut pages, and one spectacular pop-up tableau provide eye-catching scenes, almost every one offering a window onto the scene to follow. Ava, a brown-skinned young astronaut-in-the-making, has a bedroom filled with models of rockets and planets. “This is Ava. Today she is going on a big space adventure. / Ava climbs into her rocket ship and waits for the final countdown.” The next five double-page spreads depicting levels of staging around Ava’s rocket are die-cut in the shapes of numerals, inviting kids to join in the countdown: “5 / 4 / 3 / 2 / 1 / 0 / LIFT OFF.” Ava and her imperturbable cat blast off into space as the crew in the control room monitors the operation. First stop is the International Space Station. After Ava makes a “daring spacewalk” to repair a solar panel, she heads for the moon, then around the sun, through the asteroid belt, and past each of the eight planets in the solar system, with cutaways in every scene previewing the coming destinations. The text is accessible for young readers yet rich in information and detail. In companion title Ocean Adventure, a black boy named Noah has an equally thrilling undersea expedition.

Absolutely stellar. (Board book. 2-6)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9999679-8-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences.

LOLA PLANTS A GARDEN

From the Lola & Leo series

Hoping to have a garden like the one in her poetry book, Lola plants seeds, waits and weeds, and finally celebrates with friends.

The author and illustrator of Lola Loves Stories (2010) and its companion titles take their appealing character outside. Inspired by her favorite poem, the nursery rhyme “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” (repeated on the front endpapers), Lola chooses her favorite flowers from library books. Helped by her parents, she grows a grandly diverse flower garden, just right for a celebration with peas and strawberries from the family plot. Beardshaw’s acrylic illustrations show her garden in all its stages. They also show the copper-toned preschooler reading on her mother’s lap, making a flower book, a beaded string with bells and shells, a little Mary Mary doll and cupcakes for the celebration. Her bunchy ponytails are redone, and her flower shirt is perfect for the party. Not only has she provided the setting; she makes up a story for her friends. The simple sentences of the text and charming pictures make this a good choice for reading aloud or early reading alone. On the rear endpapers, the nursery rhyme has been adapted to celebrate “Lola, Lola, Extraordinary.”

It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-58089-694-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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For readers who haven’t a musk ox of their own to snuggle up with, this tale proves just as cozy.

COZY

An agreeable Alaskan musk ox embodies that old Ben Franklin adage, “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.”

When Cozy the ox is separated from his herd in the midst of a winter storm, he decides to wait it out. His massive size and warmth attract small animals—a lemming family and a snowshoe hare—desperate to escape the cold. However, as bigger, predatory creatures arrive, Cozy must lay down some “house rules” that grow with each new creature that arrives until they extend to: “Quiet voices, gentle thumping, claws to yourself, no biting, no pouncing, and be mindful of others!” Over time, the guests grow antsy, but at last spring arrives and Cozy can find his family. The tale is not dissimilar to another Jan Brett tale of cold weather and animals squeezing into a small space (The Mitten, 1989). Meticulous watercolors refrain from anthropomorphizing, rendering everyone, from massive Cozy to the tiniest of lemmings, in exquisite detail. This moving tale of gentle kindness serves as a clarion call for anyone searching for a book about creating your own community in times of trial. Brett even includes little details about real musk oxen in the text (such as their tendency to form protective circles to surround their vulnerable young), but readers hoping for further information in any backmatter will be disappointed. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 37.3% of actual size.)

For readers who haven’t a musk ox of their own to snuggle up with, this tale proves just as cozy. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-10979-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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