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OLD MANHATTAN HAS SOME FARMS

Little ones will sing along and get their own gardens growing.

Old MacDonald would be greatly surprised to find that although his cows and pigs and sheep might need a rural setting, cities are just fine for growing lots of healthy crops.

From Manhattan to Atlanta to Chicago and beyond, in cities across the United States and Canada, urban farmers are carving out spaces on rooftops and windowsills, in empty lots, backyards and community gardens. Employing a variety of methods, they are raising vegetables and herbs or keeping bees and making honey. Worms and hydroponics aid in the endeavors of these farmers, and even the White House compost bins play their part. There’s a lot of information to absorb, but Lendroth literally makes the facts sing to the tune of the old folk song, with the refrain “E-I-E-I-Grow” following each city’s verse. The verses flow easily and follow the song’s pattern in aabb rhyme while managing to include such words as “radicchio” and “arugula” without missing a beat. The visual experience matches the text beautifully. An ethnically diverse cast of adults and children are busily digging, weeding and harvesting a variety of tempting foods in Endle’s large-scale double-page spreads. Rendered in gouache, the illustrations are thickly outlined in black and filled with the brightest of eye-popping colors set among rich brown soil and myriad greens.

Little ones will sing along and get their own gardens growing. (afterword, resources, music) (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-58089-572-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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THE WATER PRINCESS

Though told by two outsiders to the culture, this timely and well-crafted story will educate readers on the preciousness of...

An international story tackles a serious global issue with Reynolds’ characteristic visual whimsy.

Gie Gie—aka Princess Gie Gie—lives with her parents in Burkina Faso. In her kingdom under “the African sky, so wild and so close,” she can tame wild dogs with her song and make grass sway, but despite grand attempts, she can neither bring the water closer to home nor make it clean. French words such as “maintenant!” (now!) and “maman” (mother) and local color like the karite tree and shea nuts place the story in a French-speaking African country. Every morning, Gie Gie and her mother perch rings of cloth and large clay pots on their heads and walk miles to the nearest well to fetch murky, brown water. The story is inspired by model Georgie Badiel, who founded the Georgie Badiel Foundation to make clean water accessible to West Africans. The details in Reynolds’ expressive illustrations highlight the beauty of the West African landscape and of Princess Gie Gie, with her cornrowed and beaded hair, but will also help readers understand that everyone needs clean water—from the children of Burkina Faso to the children of Flint, Michigan.

Though told by two outsiders to the culture, this timely and well-crafted story will educate readers on the preciousness of potable water. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-17258-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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IZZY GIZMO AND THE INVENTION CONVENTION

From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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