An energetic and literary introduction to water science by the author/illustrator of the award-winning Not a Box (2006)

HEY, WATER!

Portis’ latest picture book is a joyful, lyrical celebration of water.

In it, protagonist Zoe (the name is revealed only at the end of the book) realizes that water is “all around” and discovers it everywhere: in her home, in nature, in her community, and in herself (“sometimes you slide down my cheek without a sound”). From page to page and, subtly, through the seasons, she engages in a game of hide-and-seek with water’s many states—from ice (“Sometimes you freeze hard as a rock—a rock that floats, / or a rock we can skate on”) to steam (“Water, even when you try to fool me, I know you. You blast and huff. You whistle and puff”). Through it all, as she declares at the end, “water, I know it’s you!” Done with brush and sumi ink and then digitally colored, Portis’ bold illustrations undulate on the page—raindrops roar and pour; dwarfing a whale, oceans surge (even on the endpapers). Words describing the different types of water celebrated (“shower”; “puddle”; “fog”) are printed in a large font that harmonizes with the illustrations’ brushy look. The picture book also includes informative backmatter: an illustration of the water cycle, a manifesto to conserve water, and a list of additional resources about water and water experiments. Zoe has brown skin and straight, black hair.

An energetic and literary introduction to water science by the author/illustrator of the award-winning Not a Box (2006) . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4155-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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A TREE IS NICE

A nursery school approach to a general concept. "A tree is nice"- Why? Because..."We can climb the tree...play pirate ship...pick the apples...build playhouses out of the leaves. A tree is nice to hang a swing in...Birds build nests in trees... Sticks come off trees...People have picnics there too"...etc. etc. One follows the give and take of a shared succession of reactions to what a tree- or trees- can mean. There is a kind of poetic simplicity that is innate in small children. Marc Simont has made the pictures, half in full color, and they too have a childlike directness (with an underlying sophistication that adults will recognize). Not a book for everyone -but those who like it will like it immensely. The format (6 x 11) makes it a difficult book for shelving, so put it in the "clean hands" section of flat books. Here's your first book for Arbor Day use- a good spring and summer item.

Pub Date: June 15, 1956

ISBN: 978-0-06-443147-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1956

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Sure to assuage the fears of all astronauts bound for similar missions.

PLANET KINDERGARTEN

A genius way to ease kids into the new adventure that is kindergarten.

In an imaginative ruse that’s maintained through the whole book, a young astronaut prepares for his mission to Planet Kindergarten. On liftoff day (a space shuttle–themed calendar counts down the days; a stopwatch, the minutes), the small family boards their rocket ship (depicted in the illustrations as the family car), and “the boosters fire.” They orbit base camp while looking for a docking place. “I am assigned to my commander, capsule, and crewmates.” Though he’s afraid, he stands tall and is brave (not just once, either—the escape hatch beckons, but NASA’s saying gets him through: “FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION”). Parents will certainly chuckle along with this one, but kindergarten teachers’ stomach muscles will ache: “[G]ravity works differently here. We have to try hard to stay in our seats. And our hands go up a lot.” Prigmore’s digital illustrations are the perfect complement to the tongue-in-cheek text. Bold colors, sharp lines and a retro-space style play up the theme. The intrepid explorer’s crewmates are a motley assortment of “aliens”—among them are a kid in a hoodie with the laces pulled so tight that only a nose and mouth are visible; a plump kid with a bluish cast to his skin; and a pinkish girl with a toothpick-thin neck and huge bug eyes.

Sure to assuage the fears of all astronauts bound for similar missions. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4521-1893-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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