Humor and heartfelt lyricism create a clear but nonpedantic morality tale for young and young-at-heart.


Will Snowboy and his Ice Troopers save the planet by reining in the greedy shortsightedness of Greenbackboy?

Whimsical artwork and lyrical, folkloric prose present a motif both familiar and new. Snowboy and Greenbackboy are light-skinned waifs: Snowboy has a pointy, elfin hood atop his Cloak of Many Uses; Greenbackboy sports a brown hat with bearlike ears. The moppets’ characterizations are expressive—as are those of Snowboy’s loyal Ice Troopers: two pigs and a polar bear. Greenbackboy easily persuades Snowboy to chop down trees and overfish the ocean to get lots of “KA-CHING,” represented by piles of glowing, yellow coins. Well—Snowboy is almost persuaded; in each instance, at the last minute, he remembers the importance of keeping at least one tree and two fish from extinction, and he acts accordingly. The text is both poetic and apocalyptic, as when a storm blows through: “As there were no trees to snag its wings, it swept all before it, tossing the mountains of canned fish into the empty oceans, where they sank and rusted and were lost.” The text moves beyond the expected rescue of planetary resources to reconciliation between the boys; a sweet, bedtime-story ending; and a sly reminder about constant vigilance needed against “the fantasy of KA-CHING.”

Humor and heartfelt lyricism create a clear but nonpedantic morality tale for young and young-at-heart. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9572-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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A nursery school approach to a general concept. "A tree is nice"- Why? Because..."We can climb the pirate ship...pick the 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.


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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