A lovely literary and artistic rendering.

READ REVIEW

MY BUSY GREEN GARDEN

This action-filled cumulative rhyme deftly tells the story of a vibrant summer garden.

A long view from the gated entrance to the garden portrays a neatly landscaped area hosting an array of busy backyard animals and insects. The next page zooms in on “a surprise / in clever disguise / that hangs in my busy green garden.” Each subsequent scene introduces another member of the garden community (inchworm, praying mantis, dragonfly, ants, grasshopper, and chickadee), building the narrative with a rhythmic cadence that flows delightfully, offers a rich vocabulary, and adds to the fluidity of the story. “This is a hummingbird fluttering ’round / the hurrying honeybee buzzing below / the red spotted ladybug dawdling so, / near the surprise / in clever disguise / that hangs in my busy green garden.” Meticulously realistic, lush paintings in garden-bright colors will have children poring over the pages to identify each new pollinator or creature that participates in a blooming garden. Children will be pleased to conclude that the surprise is a hanging pupa ready to open and will recognize the arrival of a butterfly. Repeated readings will be welcomed for the opportunities to look for the clever caterpillar and its changing chrysalis. A postscript outlines the natural role each living thing plays.

A lovely literary and artistic rendering. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-88448-495-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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Sweet fare for bed- or naptimes, with a light frosting of natural history.

WOODLAND DREAMS

A sonorous, soporific invitation to join woodland creatures in bedding down for the night.

As in her Moon Babies, illustrated by Amy Hevron (2019), Jameson displays a rare gift for harmonious language and rhyme. She leads off with a bear: “Come home, Big Paws. / Berry picker / Honey trickster / Shadows deepen in the glen. / Lumber back inside your den.” Continuing in the same pattern, she urges a moose (“Velvet Nose”), a deer (“Tiny Hooves”), and a succession of ever smaller creatures to find their nooks and nests as twilight deepens in Boutavant’s woodsy, autumnal scenes and snow begins to drift down. Through each of those scenes quietly walks an alert White child (accompanied by an unusually self-controlled pooch), peering through branches or over rocks at the animals in the foregrounds and sketching them in a notebook. The observer’s turn comes round at last, as a bearded parent beckons: “This way, Small Boots. / Brave trailblazer / Bright stargazer / Cabin’s toasty. Blanket’s soft. / Snuggle deep in sleeping loft.” The animals go unnamed, leaving it to younger listeners to identify each one from the pictures…if they can do so before the verses’ murmurous tempo closes their eyes.

Sweet fare for bed- or naptimes, with a light frosting of natural history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7063-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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Too many bugs, figuratively.

LUCY'S LIGHT

Lucy, “the youngest member of a family of fireflies,” must overcome an irrational, moon-induced anxiety in order to leave her family tree trunk and glow.

The first six pages pull readers into a lush, beautiful world of nighttime: “When the sun has set, silence falls over the Big Forest, and all of the nighttime animals wake up.” Mixed media provide an enchanting forest background, with stylized flora and fauna eventually illuminated by a large, benign moon, because the night “doesn’t like to catch them by surprise.” Turning the page catches readers by surprise, though: the family of fireflies is decidedly comical and silly-looking. Similarly, the text moves from a lulling, magical cadence to a distinct shift in mood as the bugs ready themselves for their foray into the night: “They wave their bottoms in the air, wiggle their feelers, take a deep, deep breath, and sing, ‘Here we go, it’s time to glow!’ ” It’s an acceptable change, but more unevenness follows. Lucy’s excitement about finally joining the other bugs turns to “sobbing” two nights in a row. Instead of directly linking her behavior to understandable reactions of children to newness, the text undermines itself by making Lucy’s parents’ sweet reassurances impotent and using the grandmother’s scientific explanation of moonlight as an unnecessary metaphor. Further detracting from the story, the text becomes ever denser and more complex over the book’s short span.

Too many bugs, figuratively. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-84-16147-00-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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