A charming addition to titles exploring the phenomenon of the moon’s phases.


Emile, a white bear, is chosen by the village’s “night creatures” as the new moon keeper.

He gathers potential tools for the job: a net, a feather duster, a jar of fireflies, and more. He climbs a 93-step ladder into a sycamore tree, introducing himself to the full, luminous moon. Emile performs simple duties, blowing away clouds and shooing fruit bats that fly too close. “There isn’t a lot to do, but Emile finds the moon nice to talk to in the stillness of the night.” Gradually, Emile notices that the moon’s getting smaller. Alarmed, he consults a neighbor and cousin, who confirm his impressions. What to do? He offers food, then releases fireflies to share a riddle. “Emile giggles at the joke and sees that the moon is smiling, too.” With the moon thread-thin, a big green bird appears, reassuring Emile: “Things come and go—you’ll see.” (Sharp kids might observe the bird flying a circuit round the moon, disappearing behind, then emerging from, the orb’s shadowed surface.) Through the moonless night, Emile repeats the bird’s words until he falls asleep, awakening to a “new smile” that waxes to fill the sky again. Talented illustrator Zosienka’s pictures, made with colored pencil and opaque paints, employ inky blue-blacks and warm whites to depict bear, moon, and the night sky.

A charming addition to titles exploring the phenomenon of the moon’s phases. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-295952-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.


Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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A solid, small step for diversifying STEM stories.


What does Annie want to be?

As career day approaches, Annie wants to keep her job choice secret until her family sees her presentation at school. Readers will figure it out, however, through the title and clues Tadgell incorporates into the illustrations. Family members make guesses about her ambitions that are tied to their own passions, although her brother watches as she completes her costume in a bedroom with a Mae Jemison poster, starry décor, and a telescope. There’s a celebratory mood at the culminating presentation, where Annie says she wants to “soar high through the air” like her basketball-playing mother, “explore faraway places” like her hiker dad, and “be brave and bold” like her baker grandmother (this feels forced, but oven mitts are part of her astronaut costume) so “the whole world will hear my exciting stories” like her reporter grandfather. Annie jumps off a chair to “BLAST OFF” in a small illustration superimposed on a larger picture depicting her floating in space with a reddish ground below. It’s unclear if Annie imagines this scene or if it’s her future-self exploring Mars, but either scenario fits the aspirational story. Backmatter provides further reading suggestions and information about the moon and four women astronauts, one of whom is Jemison. Annie and her family are all black.

A solid, small step for diversifying STEM stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-88448-523-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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