Full of gentle rhythm and repetition, this deceptively simple, layered poetic tale will charm its way into readers’ hearts...

THE LITTLE TREE

Using a tree and her seed as metaphor, Van draws on her immigrant background to demonstrate parental love for a child, even if it means letting go.

An anthropomorphic little tree is worried that the forest around her is no longer flourishing and wants a better life for her little seed. “Are trees this small everywhere?” she asks a brown bird and learns that there is a place “where trees grow a hundred feet tall” and “leaves are so thick, you can sit in the shade all day!” The little tree decides to toss her seed into the wind. Over the years, the little tree wonders what has become of her baby seed. “Is it strong and tall? Does it remember me at all?” When the brown bird returns, it tells her about a very special tree; perhaps that is her little seed? The little tree receives her answer when an elegant leaf twirls and shimmers right into her armlike branches. Adinolfi expertly layers mixed media comprising colored pencils, gouache, stamping, and more to create texture and movement on the static page. Add vibrant colors in saturated hues, and the story’s dreamlike environs come to life.  

Full of gentle rhythm and repetition, this deceptively simple, layered poetic tale will charm its way into readers’ hearts and begs to be read over and over again. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-939547-19-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Creston

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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Informative, empowering, and fun.

ROX'S SECRET CODE

Girl power abounds in this book about coding that introduces young readers to the world of programming while offering them hands-on activities via a companion app.

In this title that was first introduced as a customizable, personalized print-on-demand product, Rox has a superpower. Using code, she programs toy robots that can do things like make broccoli disappear—or mischief. When Dad tells Rox to clean her room, she quickly thinks up a bot that will do it for her, writing code that instructs her bot to use artificial intelligence to sort objects by color and type. Though Rox knows that there’s a high potential for her creation to rebel, the perks outweigh any potential adverse effects. Rox’s robot has her room neat and tidy in no time—and then the entire home. Chorebot’s AI allows it to keep learning, and it seems Chorebot can do no wrong until the robot decides to rearrange the entire city (both buildings and people) by type, style, and gender. Chorebot goes “out of his artificial mind!” Rox must now stop her creation…without the assistance of the internet. The artwork, styled in the tradition of popular superhero series, is peppy and colorful, and it depicts Rox as an adorable black girl donning a black bomber jacket and a pink tutu. A companion app (not available for review) allows readers to create a bot of their own.

Informative, empowering, and fun. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-57687-899-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: POW!

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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A nicely inventive little morality “tail” for newly independent readers.

THE INFAMOUS RATSOS

From the Infamous Ratsos series , Vol. 1

Two little rats decide to show the world how tough they are, with unpredictable results.

Louie and Ralphie Ratso want to be just like their single dad, Big Lou: tough! They know that “tough” means doing mean things to other animals, like stealing Chad Badgerton’s hat. Chad Badgerton is a big badger, so taking that hat from him proves that Louie and Ralphie are just as tough as they want to be. However, it turns out that Louie and Ralphie have just done a good deed instead of a bad one: Chad Badgerton had taken that hat from little Tiny Crawley, a mouse, so when Tiny reclaims it, they are celebrated for goodness rather than toughness. Sadly, every attempt Louie and Ralphie make at doing mean things somehow turns nice. What’s a little boy rat supposed to do to be tough? Plus, they worry about what their dad will say when he finds out how good they’ve been. But wait! Maybe their dad has some other ideas? LaReau keeps the action high and completely appropriate for readers embarking on chapter books. Each of the first six chapters features a new, failed attempt by Louie and Ralphie to be mean, and the final, seventh chapter resolves everything nicely. The humor springs from their foiled efforts and their reactions to their failures. Myers’ sprightly grayscale drawings capture action and characters and add humorous details, such as the Ratsos’ “unwelcome” mat.

A nicely inventive little morality “tail” for newly independent readers. (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7636-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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