Words like “measures” might be challenging for this first reader, but for the most part, Cerato brings the coolness of...

DREW THE SCREW

From the I Like To Read series

An anthropomorphic screw introduces readers to the tools in his shed then suffers a modest existential crisis before he learns his own raison d’être.

Cerato deploys a vibrant palette and plenty of electric complementary colors—although the absence of a distinctive hand other than an electronic one is also in evidence—to add an important degree of oomph to this scant narrative. Drew, the tour guide, is a screw of few words: “The tape measures.” “The hammer hits.” “The saw cuts.” Easy enough for a book aimed at fledgling readers, 59 words in total, with illustrations full of bold action to help put the words into their contexts. Some of the sentences are a bit limp—“The clamp holds things”; as does, for instance, a refrigerator—and it does feel a bit aggressive when friendly little Drew finds himself encircled by his tool mates, who demand, “What can you do?” as if Drew were a third wheel in the toolshed. Then the freckle-faced white boy who has been busy in the background all this time scoops Drew up and puts his insecurities to rest, although Cerato never explains exactly what it is that Drew does, just shows him happily holding a sign in place. He could, after all, just be another clamp.

Words like “measures” might be challenging for this first reader, but for the most part, Cerato brings the coolness of working in the toolshed to life. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3540-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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An adorable adventure in cartography.

CAMILLA, CARTOGRAPHER

An exercise of spatial thinking through a snowy forest.

Camilla the warthog collects maps. Maps of stars, New York, even the London Tube. She even owns an ancient map of her forest. Unfortunately for her, she believes all lands have been explored and there is nothing new to chart. However, with a snowy morning comes a new opportunity. When her hedgehog neighbor, Parsley, asks for her help in finding the creek, Camilla quivers with excitement when she realizes the snow-covered land “is uncharted territory.” With all landmarks covered in snow, Camilla and Parsley must use their spatial-reasoning skills and a compass to find a new way to the creek. Their trailblazing journey proves a challenge as they keep bumping into trees, rocks, and walls. But when they find the creek, Camilla will have all the information and tools ready to draw out a new map, to break out in case of another snowfall. Wood’s delightful illustrations and Dillemuth’s expertise in the matter engage readers in the woodland creatures’ adventures. In addition, Dillemuth, who holds a doctorate in geography, provides activities in the backmatter for parents and caregivers to help children develop their own spatial-reasoning skills, such as sketching and reading maps or using cardinal directions.

An adorable adventure in cartography. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4338-3033-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Just the thing for anyone with a Grinch-y tree of their own in the yard.

THE HALLOWEEN TREE

A grouchy sapling on a Christmas tree farm finds that there are better things than lights and decorations for its branches.

A Grinch among the other trees on the farm is determined never to become a sappy Christmas tree—and never to leave its spot. Its determination makes it so: It grows gnarled and twisted and needle-less. As time passes, the farm is swallowed by the suburbs. The neighborhood kids dare one another to climb the scary, grumpy-looking tree, and soon, they are using its branches for their imaginative play, the tree serving as a pirate ship, a fort, a spaceship, and a dragon. But in winter, the tree stands alone and feels bereft and lonely for the first time ever, and it can’t look away from the decorated tree inside the house next to its lot. When some parents threaten to cut the “horrible” tree down, the tree thinks, “Not now that my limbs are full of happy children,” showing how far it has come. Happily for the tree, the children won’t give up so easily, and though the tree never wished to become a Christmas tree, it’s perfectly content being a “trick or tree.” Martinez’s digital illustrations play up the humorous dichotomy between the happy, aspiring Christmas trees (and their shoppers) and the grumpy tree, and the diverse humans are satisfyingly expressive.

Just the thing for anyone with a Grinch-y tree of their own in the yard. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7335-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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