A simple message delivered effectively.

ONLY A TREE KNOWS HOW TO BE A TREE

A celebration of the uniqueness of trees—and birds, dogs, fish, the planet Earth, the universe, and each human being.

What makes this feel-good reflection on individuality stand out are the illustrations, childlike in their presentation but surprisingly detailed—especially the images of children of all colors, from peach and pink to tan and deep brown. Some are in ethnic dress, and some use wheelchairs or wear glasses. Picture readers can spend a lot of time looking at what they do: A child climbs a tree; another pretends to be a bird; children jump rope, blow bubbles, or simply talk with a friend; a child meditates; another carries an infant; and much, much more. Murphy begins by talking about things trees do: “turn sunshine into tree food,” change color, and shelter birds and animals. She goes on to birds, dogs, and fish, and then she widens her view to encompass the whole planet, “where we live,” and the entire universe before making her point: “Every comet, flower, cat, and beetle, every cloud, frog, stone, and duck, every mountain, river, and deer is different.” With the exception of the depiction of outer space, every spread includes at least one child. The simple text has been hand lettered, and the painterly illustrations include interesting dry textures. Even though many illustrations include tiny details, this will work well for groups as well as one-on-one.

A simple message delivered effectively. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1470-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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A TREE IS NICE

A nursery school approach to a general concept. "A tree is nice"- Why? Because..."We can climb the tree...play pirate ship...pick the apples...build 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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Sure to assuage the fears of all astronauts bound for similar missions.

PLANET KINDERGARTEN

A genius way to ease kids into the new adventure that is kindergarten.

In an imaginative ruse that’s maintained through the whole book, a young astronaut prepares for his mission to Planet Kindergarten. On liftoff day (a space shuttle–themed calendar counts down the days; a stopwatch, the minutes), the small family boards their rocket ship (depicted in the illustrations as the family car), and “the boosters fire.” They orbit base camp while looking for a docking place. “I am assigned to my commander, capsule, and crewmates.” Though he’s afraid, he stands tall and is brave (not just once, either—the escape hatch beckons, but NASA’s saying gets him through: “FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION”). Parents will certainly chuckle along with this one, but kindergarten teachers’ stomach muscles will ache: “[G]ravity works differently here. We have to try hard to stay in our seats. And our hands go up a lot.” Prigmore’s digital illustrations are the perfect complement to the tongue-in-cheek text. Bold colors, sharp lines and a retro-space style play up the theme. The intrepid explorer’s crewmates are a motley assortment of “aliens”—among them are a kid in a hoodie with the laces pulled so tight that only a nose and mouth are visible; a plump kid with a bluish cast to his skin; and a pinkish girl with a toothpick-thin neck and huge bug eyes.

Sure to assuage the fears of all astronauts bound for similar missions. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4521-1893-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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