Young activist dreamers will appreciate the new perspective and environmental call to action.

THE GIRL WHO SPOKE TO THE MOON

A new perspective can sometimes work wonders.

Awakened one night by a noise, Sofia finds her gaze following a beam of light to the Moon’s winking eye, and they chat. “From this night on, a friendship grew / into a bond both strong and true.” Later, Sofia, presented with a light complexion and dark hair and eyes, notices the Moon is sad and wants to help. She follows the Moon’s suggestion and visits the Moon in a dream. As Sofia looks from the Moon toward Earth, Moon explains that Mother Earth is her “closest relative,” but Earth’s “people seem so unaware / that what Earth needs is better care.” Moon suggests simple things everyone can do to take care of Mother Earth, and Sofia makes “a pledge of things to do / like passing on these words to you.” While the often forced rhyme is light on specifics, backmatter defines air, land, and water pollution, then presents a bulleted list of everyday activities that can help keep “Earth clean and healthy.” Sidebars in the backmatter include insightful reflections from male and female astronauts who witnessed planet Earth from space. Realistic illustrations mostly in neutral creams and grays capture the “pearl” and “opal glow” of Sofia’s moon but may not capture the attention of young readers.

Young activist dreamers will appreciate the new perspective and environmental call to action. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-9873-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Pickle Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

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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This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash.

JABARI JUMPS

Young Jabari decides today is the day he is going to jump from the diving board, even though it’s a little high and a little scary.

Jabari’s father and baby sister accompany him to the swimming pool in the city, where Jabari has already made up his mind about today’s goal: jumping off the diving board. “I’m a great jumper,” he says, “so I’m not scared at all.” But that’s not entirely true. Readers see Jabari play the waiting game as the other children (a diverse bunch) make their ways past him in line. Once Jabari finally begins to climb up, he slyly remembers that he forgot to “stretch.” The stalling techniques don’t faze his dad, who sees an opportunity for a life lesson. “It’s okay to feel a little scared,” offers his dad at the side of the pool. With renewed will, Jabari returns to the towering diving board, ready to embrace the feat. In her debut, Cornwall places her loving black family at the center, coloring the swimming pool and park beyond in minty hues and adding whimsy with digitally collaged newspaper for skyscrapers. A bird’s-eye view of Jabari’s toes clinging to the edge of the diving board as he looks way, way down at the blue pool below puts readers in his head and in the action.

This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7838-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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