A great way to introduce kids to their foods’ origins and to prepare them for a greenmarket visit of their own.

MARKET MAZE

With an interactive maze/map, Munro demystifies for children where all the items for sale at the farmers market originate.

Readers must navigate each page’s directions and maze to collect and ship the items. “Guide the boat to the dock’s loading area. Transfer the catch to the FISH truck, go to the fish-packing plant, and drive toward town.” Readers also collect apples, milk, cheese, corn, flowers, eggs, veggies, baked goods, and kids (going on a field trip to the greenmarket). Less a map than an aerial view of different areas, the illustrations lack any compass or map key, so children will need their powers of observation and deduction to notice the only dock and the only boat out to sea, the truck marked with a fish, and the building with the same sign out front (the challenges seem to grow in difficulty with page turns). Arrows mark one-way streets (not correct paths!), and readers must puzzle the shortest way to get from one page turn to the next. Lists of items to find in the bright, busy, detailed India ink and colored acrylic ink illustrations extend the fun. The backmatter includes thumbnails marking both the shortest routes and the hidden items, and a paragraph under each goes into more detail about the featured market item.

A great way to introduce kids to their foods’ origins and to prepare them for a greenmarket visit of their own. (Interactive informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3092-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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Not astonishingly go-out-and-buy-it-at-graduation inspirational, but all it takes is one seed of change to be planted.

GOING PLACES

Imagination soars—quite literally—when a little girl follows her own set of rules.

Every year Oak Hill School has a go-kart race called the Going Places contest. Students are given identical go-kart kits with a precise set of instructions. And of course, every single kart ends up exactly the same. Every one, that is, except Maya’s. Maya is a dreamy artist, and she would rather sketch birds in her backyard than get caught up in the competition. When she finally does start working, she uses the parts in the go-kart box but creates something completely different. No one ever said it had to be a go-kart. Maya’s creative thinking inspires Rafael, her neighbor (and the most enthusiastic Going Places contestant), to ask to team up. The instructions never say they couldn’t work together, either! An ode to creativity and individuality to be sure, but the Reynolds brothers are also taking a swipe at modern education: Endless repetition and following instructions without question create a culture of conformity. Hopefully now, readers will see infinite possibility every time the system hands them an identical go-kart box.

Not astonishingly go-out-and-buy-it-at-graduation inspirational, but all it takes is one seed of change to be planted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-6608-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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