Part natural science, part deep ecology, wholly captivating.



The community of species is celebrated in this picture book.

With a vigorous nod to the philosophy of deep ecology, author/illustrator Salyer presents an uplifting, lively picture book that details the various ways a community structure helps a species thrive and survive. The deep-ecology message begins with cleverly designed endpapers. Illustrated in an identical gestural style and palette, the front endpapers depict a small herd of elephants that spills onto the page turn, while the back endpapers show a diverse group of human bicyclists. The body of the book begins with four double-page spreads depicting, in a glorious overall design on each, a group of individuals within a single species. While stunning in their own right, the illustrations also work to underscore the message of beauty within community, and the text sums this up: “Together, / we are better.” Amplifying this broad statement, the balance of the book details a single species per two-page spread, relating what a group of that species is called and giving an aspect of that species’ behavior. “We lions live in a pride….we use purrs, licks, and nuzzles…. / Together, we nurture!” The final double-page spread shows a diverse group of humans interacting together, with the words, “All together… / …we are better!” Final pages note the extinction danger of many species, offer ways to help, and identify the species illustrated in the book.

Part natural science, part deep ecology, wholly captivating. (Informational picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-57788-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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Sage, soothing ideas for a busy, loud, sometimes-divisive world.


In an inviting picture book, Chelsea and Hillary Clinton share personal revelations on how gardening with a grandmother, a mother, and children shapes and nurtures a love and respect for nature, beauty, and a general philosophy for life.

Grandma Dorothy, the former senator, secretary of state, and presidential candidate’s mother, loved gardens, appreciating the multiple benefits they yielded for herself and her family. The Clinton women reminisce about their beloved forebear and all she taught them in a color-coded, alternating text, blue for Chelsea and green for Hillary. Via brief yet explicit remembrances, they share what they learned, observed, and most of all enjoyed in gardens with her. Each double-page spread culminates in a declarative statement set in italicized red text invoking Dorothy’s wise words. Gardens can be many things: places for celebration, discovery and learning, vehicles for teaching responsibility in creating beauty, home to wildlife large and small, a place to share stories and develop memories. Though operating from very personal experience rooted in class privilege, the mother-daughter duo mostly succeeds in imparting a universally significant message: Whether visiting a public garden or working in the backyard, generations can cultivate a lasting bond. Lemniscates uses an appropriately floral palette to evoke the gardens explored by these three white women. A Spanish edition, Los jardines de la abuela, publishes simultaneously; Teresa Mlawer’s translation is fluid and pleasing, in at least one case improving on the original.

Sage, soothing ideas for a busy, loud, sometimes-divisive world. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11535-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.


Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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