A striking if imperfect homage to the venerable saguaro.

SAGUARO'S GIFTS

A saguaro’s crown of blossoms unfurls in the night to the excitement of the desert dwellers.

Nectar lures a small bat who wishes the tall cactus a happy 100th birthday, and an owl returns to its home in the green, spiky trunk. Morning arrives, along with hummingbirds, doves, bees, and butterflies—jostling one another to see and taste the gifts the blooming flowers offer. The seemingly desolate landscape teems with activity while Cyrus’ jaunty verses describe the saguaro from the perspectives of the animals that depend on it as a source of food, shelter, and refuge. Unfortunately, the uneven verses take the life cycle of the flowers and subsequent fruit out of sequence. A tortoise drops by, looking for food, and observes, “Blossoms wither in the sun. / The pollination party’s done.” Yet the flowers had just begun blooming the night before—much too early for withering (as later illustrations attest), let alone for the ripened fruit the confused reptile hopes to find. The author’s skimpy fact sheet also fails to mention many important details, such as the fact that saguaros are found exclusively in the Sonoran Desert. Atkins’ rich illustrations capture the vibrant desert ecosystem with wonderful detail; in one illustration, a bobcat scampers to the top of the saguaro, and in another, a coyote hungrily peers into a rabbit’s burrow. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A striking if imperfect homage to the venerable saguaro. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5341-1130-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Cool and stylish.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

ADA TWIST, SCIENTIST

Her intellectual curiosity is surpassed only by her passion for science. But what to do about her messy experiments?

Ada is speechless until she turns 3. But once she learns how to break out of her crib, there’s no stopping the kinky-haired, brown-skinned girl. “She tore through the house on a fact-finding spree.” When she does start speaking, her favorite words are “why,” “how,” and “when.” Her parents, a fashion-forward black couple who sport a variety of trendy outfits, are dumbfounded, and her older brother can only point at her in astonishment. She amazes her friends with her experiments. Ada examines all the clocks in the house, studies the solar system, and analyzes all the smells she encounters. Fortunately, her parents stop her from putting the cat in the dryer, sending her instead to the Thinking Chair. But while there, she covers the wall with formulae. What can her parents do? Instead of punishing her passion, they decide to try to understand it. “It’s all in the heart of a young scientist.” Though her plot is negligible—Ada’s parents arguably change more than she does—Beaty delightfully advocates for girls in science in her now-trademark crisply rhyming text. Roberts’ illustrations, in watercolor, pen, and ink, manage to be both smart and silly; the page compositions artfully evoke the tumult of Ada’s curiosity, filling white backgrounds with questions and clutter.

Cool and stylish. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2137-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more