An attractive addition to the nature shelf.

SNOW BIRDS

Rhyming couplets introduce birds one might see in spite of winter snows.

Hall describes behaviors that help 17 species survive cold winters. She begins and ends with the blue jays familiar to readers east of the Rockies: a pair that takes peanuts from a feeder to hide for later and then, in spring, builds a nest for a new generation. In between she introduces a broad range of birds, some residents and some with shorter seasonal migrations that end in parts of the U.S. that are cold and snowy. Carolina wrens, snow geese, black-capped chickadees, American tree sparrows, downy woodpeckers, and northern cardinals are birds whose winter ranges span much of the country; common redpolls, snow buntings, black rosy-finches, Atlantic puffins, Bohemian waxwings, ruffed grouse, great gray and snowy owls, and golden crowned kinglets frequent only small parts. Readers are quite unlikely to encounter an ivory gull stealing its winter food from polar bears! Desmond’s double-page spreads show the birds beautifully, and they include important details about their appearances, their usual numbers, and their environments. Predominantly done in muted tones with lots of black, white, and shades of gray, they have spots of color when appropriate. Where the bird’s sounds aren’t included in the poem, they’re worked into the images. Hall’s skillful poetry reads aloud well, making this a solid candidate for small-group storytime even where the birds—or even the snow—aren’t familiar. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 81.6% of actual size.)

An attractive addition to the nature shelf. (further information) (Informational picture book/poetry. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4203-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Despite the name recognition of the author and relevance of the story, sweet yet inconsequential.

I COLOR MYSELF DIFFERENT

A debut picture book from the NFL quarterback who took a knee during the national anthem.

Kaepernick speaks directly to children about growing up Black in a White family. The story focuses on one incident: When he shares a drawing of his adoptive family with his class, other students ask why he’s the only brown-skinned one. But with reassurance from his mother, young Colin realizes he should take pride in his identity. Although he says, “I don’t know too many kids who look like me,” the bland, somewhat idealized illustrations show a classroom with children with a variety of skin tones, and the teacher is Black. The story includes a rather simplistic explanation of what it means to be adopted: “Ever since Mom wrapped me in that warm hug, I knew having brown skin and being adopted made me special.” Kaepernick adds, “I have brown eyes, a brown nose, and brown hands...just like the people who inspire, create, lead, and change the world.” The accompanying illustration depicts nine African American historical figures, including athletes famous for taking political stands: Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who raised their fists at the 1968 Olympics, and Muhammad Ali, as well as Huey Newton, Toni Morrison, Angela Davis, Audre Lorde, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and Malcolm X. The historical roles of these individuals are explained in a brief addendum. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Despite the name recognition of the author and relevance of the story, sweet yet inconsequential. (“letter to the reader”) (Picture-book biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-78962-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A delightful story of love and hope.

OUR SUBWAY BABY

Families are formed everywhere—including large metropolitan mass-transit systems!

Baby Kevin, initially known as “Danny ACE Doe,” was found in the New York City’s 14th Street subway station, which serves the A-C-E lines, by one of his future fathers, Danny. Kevin’s other father, Pete (author Mercurio), serves as the narrator, explaining how the two men came to add the newborn to their family. Readers are given an abridged version of the story from Danny and Pete’s point of view as they work to formally adopt Kevin and bring him home in time for Christmas. The story excels at highlighting the determination of loving fathers while still including realistic moments of hesitation, doubt, and fear that occur for new and soon-to-be parents. The language is mindful of its audience (for example using “piggy banks” instead of “bank accounts” to discuss finances) while never patronizing young readers. Espinosa’s posterlike artwork—which presents the cleanest New York readers are ever likely to see—extends the text and makes use of unexpected angles to heighten emotional scenes and moments of urgency. The diversity of skin tones, ages, and faces (Danny and Pete both present white, and Kevin has light brown skin) befits the Big Apple. Family snapshots and a closing author’s note emphasize that the most important thing in any family is love. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.3-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 43% of actual size.)

A delightful story of love and hope. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-42754-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more