This is a book to closely pore over—perhaps before a trip to the park or a botanical garden for real-life practice.

FANTASTIC FLOWERS

The unique shapes and patterns of 17 exotic and common flowers are exhibited in this optically striking display that points to the plants’ visual similarities to other objects, animals, or people.

Aided by melodic rhyming verse, large, boldly colored acrylic paintings reveal the ways the flowers mimic something else. “Flowers in shapes that surprise and delight. // Upside down pants, / a parrot in flight. // Prim ballerinas, / wild baboons. // Snakes standing guard, // and spiraling spoons.” A first look through the artwork will bring recognition for some of the comparisons, but the patterned arrangements and varying perspectives will invite re-examination to catch them all. The significant backmatter supplements the art with crisp close-up color photographs of each flower coupled with its common and scientific names, area of origin, and pollinators. It will crystallize the painted images for readers as they revisit the paintings and realize the associations, which are often reflected in the flower’s common names. For example “Bumblebees laughing” glosses the bumblebee orchid, while Australia’s red spider flower is represented as “skittering spiders.” This should encourage older preschoolers and early elementary children to look closely at nature’s wonders in the garden for their own comparisons.

This is a book to closely pore over—perhaps before a trip to the park or a botanical garden for real-life practice. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-56145-952-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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This effort gives partial information where children could have handled the full picture. Look to Julie Hannah and Joan...

IT'S RAINING!

Though Gibbons includes lots of facts about rain in her latest, some flaws limit its usefulness.

The explanation of the water cycle, though basic, is solid and accessible for children: “As the water vapor moves higher into the sky, the air becomes cooler and cooler. Water vapor soon turns into millions of water droplets. This is called condensation.” Gibbons then goes on to describe the types of rain clouds. Unfortunately, her trademark watercolor-illustration style does not differentiate these enough, nor does the text, to make this knowledge applicable. She next tackles the different ways rain falls: drizzle, shower, rain, rainstorm, thunderstorm, flash flood. While the bit about thunder and lightning may soothe nerves about this typical childhood fear, introducing the threat of broken windows and falling tree limbs from other storms may offset this. The final few pages address storm cleanup, acid rain, cleaner energy sources and the possibility of a rainbow. How this latter forms is left to the backmatter, whose many facts should have been supplied in the text itself, including tips on staying dry and safe and a list of supplies to have on hand in case of a storm. As in her other titles, text within the illustrations gives further information and/or defines vocabulary words.

This effort gives partial information where children could have handled the full picture. Look to Julie Hannah and Joan Holub’s The Man Who Named the Clouds, illustrated by Paige Billin-Frye (2006), instead. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2924-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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