ME, ALL ALONE, AT THE END OF THE WORLD

A solitary idyll is disturbed by easy entertainment in this gorgeous, complex fable. The nameless narrator, dressed like Huck Finn in overalls with no shirt or shoes, lives peacefully by himself at the End of the World, satisfied with uncomplicated kid-like fancies. But Once-ler-like Constantine Shimmer, Professional Visionary, turns up and proceeds to turn the End of the World into a tourist haven, complete with Hang-Glidery, O-Frost-A-Thon and Yow-Gulf-O-Drop, and the exhortation to have “fun all the time!” This great cosmic disturbance brings real friends for the narrator; they come with the seasons and play with the boy, in the woods and on Shimmer’s ever-more-elaborate contraptions. Anderson’s text is gloriously cadenced, celebrating simple pleasures even as it acknowledges the dangerous appeal of man-made attractions. Hawkes’s illustrations complement the language perfectly, serenely balanced compositions giving way to sinister colors and frenetic perspectives, returning to balance only when the narrator flees to the Top of the World. The narrative makes its point clearly, encouraging readers to make space for solitude, but also acknowledges the need for companionship. A work that requires—and is eminently worthy of—many re-readings. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7636-1586-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2005

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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A PLACE FOR BIRDS

An accessible introduction to environmental issues, this title focuses on the effects, good and bad, that human behavior has on birds, highlighting the progress that we’ve made toward living in harmony with our winged friends and acknowledging problems still not solved. The rhythmic main text highlights birds’ needs and what people can do to see that they are met. Insets on each page then provide specific examples to drive the point home. For instance, one spread explains that some birds need thick woodlands in which to make their homes. The accompanying inset tells the story of the spotted owl, which, though once facing the possibility of extinction due to the loss of its habitat, saw its chances for survival increase dramatically when Congress worked to protect old-growth forests in the 1990s. This format, with general statements foregrounded and examples included as insets, is effective and engaging, and Bond’s acrylic illustrations depict realistic scenes with a crisp vibrancy. Put this one in the hands of budding scientists, environmentalists and nature lovers. (selected bibliography) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-56145-474-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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