Cheerfully delivered, this array of projects should inspire adults ready to dig into gardening adventures with kids.

PLANT, SOW, MAKE, & GROW

MUD-TASTIC ACTIVITIES FOR BUDDING GARDENERS

Propelled by her volunteer work running a garden club at her daughter’s school, professional illustrator Coombs presents 38 garden projects organized by season.

The activities incorporate garden how-tos for eight types of plants as well as STEAM-oriented DIY projects such as charting plant growth, pressing flowers, and making seed bombs. Emphasizing budget-friendly options, Coombs encourages composting, seed saving, and repurposing plastic jugs as hanging baskets, watering cans, and scoops. Information about water conservation and the importance of fostering habitat for pollinators sharpens the ecological focus. An occasional British reference (e.g. encouraging slug-eating hedgehogs) slips into this import, and two superficial references to Native American gardening practices, incorporated in sidebars, come across as implications that they are quaint relics of a bygone, monolithic culture. With Coombs’ illustrated school newsletters as impetus, the text is often directed to adults. Only one project (pumpkin carving) mandates adult participation; others require the cutting of plastic bottles and bins with scissors, a metal skewer, and a drill and hacksaw. Illustrations are whimsical and clear. Coombs’ breezy, encouraging advice is often appealingly casual. However, certain specifics potentially mislead: planting pea seeds 12 inches apart (most packets advise closer spacing); suggesting that cherry tomatoes are reliably compact, bush varieties (in fact, many cherry varieties are free-growing, indeterminate types).

Cheerfully delivered, this array of projects should inspire adults ready to dig into gardening adventures with kids. (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78708-025-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Button Books

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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