Young readers may be charmed to realize that the tree sprout near the old oak’s stump could by now be a sapling. This will...


From acorn to huge tree, an oak provides the focal point for this clear and simple look at over two centuries of change in a single landscape.

A small boy plants an acorn in summer, close to a wigwam, high above a wide river. Though readers will guess that the tall ships that appear in the river by autumn don’t belong to the same people whose canoe crosses toward shore in the first pages, Karas avoids editorializing. In the next pages, “The boy grew up and moved away. Farmers now lived here.” The perspective stays: the growing tree, the river below, hills rolling away to the horizon. But seasons change, the occupants of the house on the land are different on each spread, and the landscape transforms by human hands through agriculture and construction. Karas’ gouache-and-pencil art has a friendly, intimate quality. A timeline grows along the bottom of the page, beginning when the tree sprouts in 1775 and indicating the passage of time at a rate of 25 years per spread. The tree is brought down by a storm in 2000—here the narrative changes from past tense to a “you are there” present tense.

Young readers may be charmed to realize that the tree sprout near the old oak’s stump could by now be a sapling. This will invite repeat visits. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25233-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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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. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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An adorable adventure in cartography.


An exercise of spatial thinking through a snowy forest.

Camilla the warthog collects maps. Maps of stars, New York, even the London Tube. She even owns an ancient map of her forest. Unfortunately for her, she believes all lands have been explored and there is nothing new to chart. However, with a snowy morning comes a new opportunity. When her hedgehog neighbor, Parsley, asks for her help in finding the creek, Camilla quivers with excitement when she realizes the snow-covered land “is uncharted territory.” With all landmarks covered in snow, Camilla and Parsley must use their spatial-reasoning skills and a compass to find a new way to the creek. Their trailblazing journey proves a challenge as they keep bumping into trees, rocks, and walls. But when they find the creek, Camilla will have all the information and tools ready to draw out a new map, to break out in case of another snowfall. Wood’s delightful illustrations and Dillemuth’s expertise in the matter engage readers in the woodland creatures’ adventures. In addition, Dillemuth, who holds a doctorate in geography, provides activities in the backmatter for parents and caregivers to help children develop their own spatial-reasoning skills, such as sketching and reading maps or using cardinal directions.

An adorable adventure in cartography. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4338-3033-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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