A playful marvel.

READ REVIEW

THE INVISIBLE GARDEN

How far can a child’s imagination go?

A lone, bluish car departs from the crowded city, a mishmash of drab colors and almost indecipherable edifices. “Are we nearly there?” asks an unseen passenger, as woodland creatures tower in an encroaching forest. In a clearing stands a red house with an overactive chimney. “Ah, here at last,” says the child. It’s Grandma’s birthday, and a crowd is celebrating inside. The despondent child sits alone among the chattering adults until one of the boisterous giants suggests playing in Grandma’s garden. So Arianne goes outside. At first, boredom prevails there as well. But then a little stone draws her attention to some flittering insects. These immense insects (or is Arianne now minuscule?) soar over mountaintops, and Arianne must grab onto a bit of dandelion puff to give chase. Once atop a mountain’s peak, Arianne’s fun continues. This grand miniadventure requires readers’ willingness to follow these whims, and Picard wisely lets her scarce words serve as guideposts for them. Suddenly strolling alongside dinosaurs and capturing stars seem plausible. Ferrer’s unusually whimsical interpretation of an old trope (the child in nature) merits the imaginations of its readers. Each full-page picture offers a singular perspective created with vibrant watercolor and bold pen strokes. Arianne and the adults, meanwhile, range in skin color from ghostly white to deeply pink.

A playful marvel. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4598-2211-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world.

YOU ARE HOME WITH ME

This reassuring picture book exemplifies how parents throughout the animal kingdom make homes for their offspring.

The narrative is written from the point of view of a parent talking to their child: “If you were a beaver, I would gnaw on trees with my teeth to build a cozy lodge for us to sleep in during the day.” Text appears in big, easy-to-read type, with the name of the creature in boldface. Additional facts about the animal appear in a smaller font, such as: “Beavers have transparent eyelids to help them see under water.” The gathering of land, air, and water animals includes a raven, a flying squirrel, and a sea lion. “Home” might be a nest, a den, or a burrow. One example, of a blue whale who has homes in the north and south (ocean is implied), will help children stretch the concept into feeling at home in the larger world. Illustrations of the habitats have an inviting luminosity. Mature and baby animals are realistically depicted, although facial features appear to have been somewhat softened, perhaps to appeal to young readers. The book ends with the comforting scene of a human parent and child silhouetted in the welcoming lights of the house they approach: “Wherever you may be, you will always have a home with me.”

Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-224-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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It’s not the most original of plots and somewhat lacking in substance, but the message is clear: true friendship can...

IN THE WOODS

It’s springtime in the woods, and all the animals are buzzing with excitement for the wedding of Red the fox.

While making decorations for the big event, two penguins help to solve problems that beset three of their friends. In the first short chapter, they encounter Olly the horse, who is distraught because all his friends have become unicorns and flown away. With speedy ingenuity, the penguins and other animals transform the forlorn horse into a magical beast, using branches for wings and a cone for a horn to help Olly become a unicorn and fly away. In the second chapter, Lionel the lion has lost his mane, and the friends construct an acceptable substitute out of flowers and branches. In the third minichapter, disaster befalls Red: the wedding cake she spent all week making has been stolen by Wolf. The friends pool their supply of woodland foods to make a new cake, “big enough to feed the whole wood.” Each minichapter ends with the phrase “Be happy now!” Rowe’s flat, limited-color silkscreen-style illustrations create an overly busy impression on the page, and the erratically placed text makes it sometimes difficult to follow the narrative.

It’s not the most original of plots and somewhat lacking in substance, but the message is clear: true friendship can overcome any obstacle. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-500-65105-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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