A story with a good ecological message and vibrant paintings that falls short by omitting context.

YARA'S TAWARI TREE

In this latest picture-book series entry, Lapid (Mother’s Day With Snowman Paul, 2018, etc.) offers strong couplets about a girl and a tree saving each other, and returning illustrator Pasek highlights the bright colors of its tropical setting.

A small tawari sapling is threatened by bulldozers and fires that are clearing the forest. Yara, a young Indigenous girl, comes to its rescue. The sapling grows quickly to become a tree that Yara (who appears to still be the same age) can climb. One day, when Yara becomes very ill, her mother brings an elder to their home to make a diagnosis. The elder laments that there once was a tree that could provide her with a remedy, but it may now be extinct. Savvy readers will be unsurprised that Yara’s tawari tree is the very one that she needs to cure her sickness, thus repaying her kindness. Lapid’s message—that humans need the rainforest as much as the rainforest needs them to save it—comes through clearly in Yara and the tree’s personal connection. Unfortunately, with no author’s note and an unnamed setting, it’s hard to gauge the authenticity of Pasek’s apparently Amazon-inspired images or Lapid’s cultural descriptions.

A story with a good ecological message and vibrant paintings that falls short by omitting context.

Pub Date: July 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9973899-5-1

Page Count: 38

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS!

Another Seuss-chimera joins the ranks of the unforgettable Herlar and with the advent of the Grinch— a sort of Yule Ghoul who lives in a cave just north of who-ville. While all the Who's made ready on Christmas Eve the Grinch donned a Santa-Claus disguise. In gurgling verse at a galloping gait, we learn how the Grinch stole the "presents, the ribbons, the wrappings, the tags, the tinsel and trappings," from all the Who's. But the Grinch's heart (two sizes too small) melted just in time when he realized that the Who's enjoyed Christmas without any externals. Youngsters will be in transports over the goofy gaiety of Dr. Seuss's first book about a villain — easily the best Christmas-cad since Scrooge. Inimitable Seuss illustrations of the Grinch's dog Max disguised as a reindeer are in black and white with touches of red. Irrepressible and irresistible.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 1957

ISBN: 0394800796

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1957

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Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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