A delightful book that will stand up to repeated readings on a lap or in a group setting.

READ REVIEW

FOLLOWING THE TRACTOR

Over the course of a year, all manner of birds and animals follow a farmer as he works the fields with his tractor.

Across pages of torn-paper collage that seems to leap off the paper, the large-format double-page spreads showcase the changing landscape around the farm with close-ups of brightly colored machinery. Beginning with the cover and endpapers, a visual story of village life through the seasons unfolds alongside the text. The background provides attentive young listeners with ample opportunities to count birds on the wire, sheep on the hillside or people walking dogs. The narrative is delivered in a lively typeface that ties it to the hubbub of activity behind it while telling the farmer’s story in a matter-of-fact way that’s perfect in its pacing, with the feel of a cumulative rhyme and a satisfying amount of rounded vowels: “So, the tractor, it is sleeping / when the farmer comes along, / lugging his load across the cold, hard ground. // And the cows come down, / to see what can be found, / by following the farmer around and around.”

A delightful book that will stand up to repeated readings on a lap or in a group setting. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-84780-489-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun.

CLOTHESLINE CLUES TO JOBS PEOPLE DO

From the Clothesline Clues series

Heling and Hembrook’s clever conceit challenges children to analyze a small town’s clotheslines to guess the job each of their owners does. 

Close-up on the clothesline: “Uniform and cap, / an invite for you. / Big bag of letters. / What job does she do?” A turn of the page reveals a macro view of the home, van and the woman doing her job, “She is a mail carrier.” Indeed, she can be spotted throughout the book delivering invitations to all the rest of the characters, who gather at the end for a “Launch Party.” The verses’ rhymes are spot-on, though the rhythm falters a couple of times. The authors nicely mix up the gender stereotypes often associated with several of these occupations, making the carpenter, firefighter and astronaut women. But while Davies keeps uniforms and props pretty neutral (he even avoids U.S. mail symbols), he keeps to the stereotypes that allow young readers to easily identify occupations—the farmer chews on a stalk of wheat; the beret-wearing artist sports a curly mustache. A subdued palette and plain white backgrounds keep kids’ focus on the clothing clues. Still, there are plenty of details to absorb—the cat with arched back that anticipates a spray of water, the firefighter who “lights” the rocket.

Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58089-251-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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THE GRUFFALO

The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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