An earnest, well-intentioned addition to the contemporary environmental movement.


The ABC Field Guide to Faeries


Alexander-Heaton and Gabriell’s vividly illustrated, poetic picture book introduces children to the magic of nature.

Today’s kids will eventually inherit a planet whose natural resources and ability to sustain life will be rapidly dwindling. Author Alexander-Heaton and designer Gabriell have set out to create a fun way to teach young children about the importance and fragility of nature, using both rhyming poetry and mixed-media illustrations. Alexander-Heaton, who grew up in rural Manitoba, had a childhood characterized by a love of the wilderness, and her debut aims to encourage a similar perspective. What sets this book apart from other eco-aware titles is Alexander-Heaton’s inclusion of an imaginary world of fairies. Each fairy represents an aspect of nature and serves as its guardian. Quinella, for example, is “the ruler of the oceans, rivers and seas,” while Buzzalina flits among the flowers bringing happiness to all creatures. As promised, the book uses each letter of the alphabet as a prompt for both the name of the fairy (“E is for Echinops,” etc.) and for two poems, the first spoken by the narrator as a sort of short biography of the fairy and the second by the fairy him- or herself, encouraging the reader to help protect the butterflies, appreciate a rainbow, refrain from littering or find the silver lining to any cloud. While the rhymes are sometimes wrenched into a strict form, children will probably find a number of them delightful. Adults may find the poems and overall message a bit clichéd and the illustrations a tad treacly (and occasionally uncanny), but children will be drawn to the rich colors and unusual collagelike images. Overall, the work is an inspired invitation to preserve our beautiful planet.

An earnest, well-intentioned addition to the contemporary environmental movement.

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2009

ISBN: 978-0981304809

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Motivated by Nature

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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