ARCTIC ALPHABET

EXPLORING THE NORTH FROM A TO Z

paper 1-55209-334-4 A flawed collection of full-color photographs and half-page descriptions of 26 animals, plants, and phenomena associated with the arctic region. Lynch organizes his material alphabetically, but aims his comments at far older children than the usual ABC-audience. He first provides three different ways of defining “arctic region,” but doesn’t tell readers which one he’s electing to use. He covers, briefly, such topics as the Aurora Borealis; the jaeger, a bird, who steals food by dive-bombing successful hunters; and the lousewort and how it received its name. An extremely questionable inclusion in an alphabet of mostly plants and animals is I for “Inuit,” “smart people who lived where no white person was able to live.” Despite the author’s many careful firsthand observations, which intrigue, answer questions, and raise new areas for investigation, this volume is of limited use.(Picture book/nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-55209-336-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Firefly

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1999

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THE PUMPKIN BOOK

The Pumpkin Book (32 pp.; $16.95; Sept. 15; 0-8234-1465-5): From seed to vine and blossom to table, Gibbons traces the growth cycle of everyone’s favorite autumn symbol—the pumpkin. Meticulous drawings detail the transformation of tiny seeds to the colorful gourds that appear at roadside stands and stores in the fall. Directions for planting a pumpkin patch, carving a jack-o’-lantern, and drying the seeds give young gardeners the instructions they need to grow and enjoy their own golden globes. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-8234-1465-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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SILVER RAIN BROWN

The hazy hot summer seems interminable for a young African-American boy and his pregnant mother. “Can’t cool down!” is the refrain that reverberates throughout the tale, and it’s literally true; lack of rain has put the city on a water conservation alert and the mother worries about all her flowers. Instead of despairing, mother and child surreptitiously water the plants using kitchen pots under the cloak of darkness; the theme of personal resilience and coping permeates the tale. A cooling, life-giving rain heralds the onset of the mother’s labor and the arrival of a new baby sister, Silver Rain Brown. The special bond between mother and son is readily apparent in Flavin’s full-page, full-color illustrations. As for the father, there is only one reference for readers to interpret: “Four a.m. and I can’t sleep, wishing Daddy would come back, wishing, wishing it would rain.” Helldorfer deftly captures the heavy oppressiveness of a summer heat wave, from children attempting to fry eggs on the sidewalk to short tempers and sleeping the hot days away, while Flavin’s illustrations artfully reflect the shimmering cityscapes. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-73093-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1999

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