Facts about chlorophyll combine with a sense of wonder.

SUMMER GREEN TO AUTUMN GOLD

UNCOVERING LEAVES' HIDDEN COLORS

Art and text move through summer, fall, winter, and spring to explain the science behind the seasonal changes in deciduous trees.

“What kinds of leaves do you see in the summer?” The opening double-page spread has a stark white background. Seventeen different trees are represented by a scattered array of leaves—each carefully labeled—in many gradations of green. The enticing collage art uses negative space to show the veins. The page turn leads to additional glorious art, affirming the text’s use of such words as “emerald” and “jade.” Lush canopies of summer leaves part just enough to reveal, in the distance, people and a dog paddling a red canoe across a lake. Although all the illustrations concentrate on tree leaves, they occasionally include similar scenes of seasonal human activities—subtle reminders that humans are also affected by nature’s cycles. The text uses some anthropomorphism (trees and/or their leaves conceal “secrets,” “wait,” “make food,” and sleep) as it introduces young readers to chloroplasts, chlorophyll, plant cells, and the process of photosynthesis as well as the role of fallen leaves in an ecosystem. After the final double-page spread, which reveals a world returned to springtime, there are two pages written in a straightforward, scientific manner, supplementing the earlier text with further information about leaves—including differentiation between deciduous trees and evergreens and the names and characteristics of pigments hidden beneath a leaf’s chlorophyll.

Facts about chlorophyll combine with a sense of wonder. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2899-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard.

HELLO AUTUMN!

Rotner follows Hello Spring (2017) with this salute to the fall season.

Name a change seen in northern climes in fall, and Rotner likely covers it here, from plants, trees, and animals to the food we harvest: seeds are spread, the days grow shorter and cooler, the leaves change and fall (and are raked up and jumped in), some animals migrate, and many families celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. As in the previous book, the photographs (presented in a variety of sizes and layouts, all clean) are the stars here, displaying both the myriad changes of the season and a multicultural array of children enjoying the outdoors in fall. These are set against white backgrounds that make the reddish-orange print pop. The text itself uses short sentences and some solid vocabulary (though “deep sleep” is used instead of “hibernate”) to teach readers the markers of autumn, though in the quest for simplicity, Rotner sacrifices some truth. In several cases, the addition of just a few words would have made the following oversimplified statements reflect reality: “Birds grow more feathers”; “Cranberries float and turn red.” Also, Rotner includes the statement “Bees store extra honey in their hives” on a page about animals going into deep sleep, implying that honeybees hibernate, which is false.

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3869-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.

AN ABC OF EQUALITY

Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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