HELLO, MEADOW!

An early, age-appropriate lesson in how to appreciate the natural world.

Rhymes and pictures urge us to protect the fragility of deceptively sturdy-looking, wildlife-rich meadows.

As in Eat Up, Bear! (2021), author and illustrator again team up to show small folks—and their parents—how to enjoy nature without harming it. The opening spread shows heedless human behavior (littering, flower-picking) in a lovely natural site, but the rest of the book instructs readers how to treat flora and fauna with respect (staying on the trail, observing wildlife from a distance). A rocking, slightly evolving refrain appears on most spreads: “Hello, Meadow! How are you? / We can help our meadows, too!” The simply drawn, brightly hued illustrations are graced with a multitude of accurately depicted plants and animals: red-shouldered hawk, Turk’s-cap lilies, lupine, blue flags, milkweed, monarch butterflies, red-winged blackbird, and much more (though none are identified as such in the text). The friendly mouse on the cover can be spotted on every page, and in the final spread, the very people who were endangering the meadow back at the start are now enjoying the same activities without risking harm to the environment. The last couplet underscores the point: “Every grown-up, every child, / can help keep meadows strong and wild.” Human characters vary in skin color and age, from a bespectacled, light-skinned older adult to a brown-skinned infant in a carrier. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An early, age-appropriate lesson in how to appreciate the natural world. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: April 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781951179250

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Yosemite Conservancy

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

IN THE WIND

A gentle outing for children who are ready for stories of everyday life rather than just objects to name.

A brief rhyming board book for toddlers.

Spurr's earlier board books (In the Garden and At the Beach, both 2012; In the Woods, 2013) featured an adventuresome little boy. Her new slice-of-life story stars an equally joyful little girl who takes pleasure in flying a new kite while not venturing far off the walkway. Oliphant's expressive and light-filled watercolors clearly depict the child's emotions—eager excitement on the way to the park, delight at the kite's flight in the wind, shock when the kite breaks free, dejection, and finally relief and amazement. The rhymes work, though uneven syllable counts in some stanzas interrupt the smooth flow of the verse. The illustrations depict the child with her mass of windblown curls, brown skin, and pronounced facial features as African-American. Her guardian (presumably her mother) is also brown-skinned. It is refreshing to see an African-American family settled comfortably in a suburban setting with single-family homes and a park where the family dog does not need to be leashed.

A gentle outing for children who are ready for stories of everyday life rather than just objects to name. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-56145-854-7

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

LITTLE BITTY FRIENDS

Is this a nature book? Not really. But with beautiful young faces respecting living creatures, it is a great choice for...

With expressions of wonder and delight, little toddlers explore nature in its tiniest forms, seeing critters and flowers with the curiosity of new eyes.

McPike and Barton have created a companion book to their comforting bedtime read-aloud, Little Sleepyhead (2015). This outing repeats the same rhythmic couplets, bringing together the simplest of flora and fauna with a racially diverse group of toddlers. Barton uses digitized pencil sketches to capture the wide-eyed, breath-holding feeling of seeing a caterpillar for the first time. The children’s delight in the snails, bluebirds, and bunnies is a gentle introduction to quietly observing nature. "Little bitty chipmunks, chattering all the day / Little bitty ladybug always comes to play." (Here a ladybug crawls across a giggling toddler’s forehead.) The illustrations are open and breezy with white space, and the spare text printed in different colors keeps the focus simple. While the repeated phrase of "little bitty" provides a consistent thread from beginning to end, the uniqueness of every child is clear. Yet even the wide range of skin tones and hairstyles is secondary to the universal feeling of wonder.

Is this a nature book? Not really. But with beautiful young faces respecting living creatures, it is a great choice for toddler libraries. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-17255-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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