Strong planetary appreciation in art and text, for read-aloud or independent reading.

THANK YOU, EARTH

A LOVE LETTER TO OUR PLANET

Colorful photographs and large, bold text fulfill the title’s promise.

The photographs are top-notch depictions of flora, fauna, landscapes, and seascapes, laid out carefully with the sparse text. The first double-page spread, which has three very different but equally stunning photographs, says simply: “Dear Earth,” with the following spread devoted to thanks for “water and those that float, / for slippery seaweed / and stone.” The next double-page spread changes venue and topics, and it ends with a rhyme to the previous verse. The rhythm and gentle rhymes of the text are soothing rather than urgent, allowing children plenty of time to stop and gaze at the details in the photographs, sometimes necessary in order to better understand the text. For example, there are some thanks for abstractions, and the photograph accompanying thanks “for struggles” shows a squirrel. Is it struggling to hang on to the slender twig it clutches or to grasp the twig in order to take a nibble? (Teachable moment: thanks for struggles?!) Little ones will enjoy the verses and photographs at face value, while elementary school–aged students may well read the simple—although far from simplistic—verses right through to the weightier prose at the end. Here the author lays out a good case for youngsters to become environmental activists and offers them some starting tools.

Strong planetary appreciation in art and text, for read-aloud or independent reading. (select resources and organizations) (Picture book. 3-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-269734-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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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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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

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. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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