This latest entry in the I Like to Read series can be paired with Lewin’s Look! (2012) as natural history for the very young.

WHAT AM I? WHERE AM I?

From the I Like To Read series

A straightforward guessing game connects iconic animals to their habitats.

In 21 words arranged in simple sentences, Lewin offers emergent readers a pleasing package of wildlife puzzles. Keyhole images open up to double-page spreads of an animal against a white background, which is then followed by a full-page picture of that animal in its natural habitat. Lions rest in the grassland. Reindeer roam the tundra. Two wild Bactrian camels with patchy pelts stand patiently in the desert. A sea otter floats in water on its back, holding a clam. A tiger sprawls on a forest floor. All are depicted in luminous watercolors, lightly outlined with pencil. The animals are rendered in myriad shades of gray and brown; the blues of the ocean and greens of the forest are similarly varied. A culminating page connects these creatures to readers, showing “a boy…on the beautiful earth.” Behind the smiling boy, a blue marble image of the Earth is oriented so that both North and South America can be seen. The patterned repetition of the title questions and the identifiable images will make even pre-readers feel competent; they’ll need only just a little help with the habitat names to master the text.

This latest entry in the I Like to Read series can be paired with Lewin’s Look! (2012) as natural history for the very young. (Early reader. 2-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2856-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2013

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A TREE IS NICE

A nursery school approach to a general concept. "A tree is nice"- Why? Because..."We can climb the tree...play pirate ship...pick the apples...build playhouses out of the leaves. A tree is nice to hang a swing in...Birds build nests in trees... Sticks come off trees...People have picnics there too"...etc. etc. One follows the give and take of a shared succession of reactions to what a tree- or trees- can mean. There is a kind of poetic simplicity that is innate in small children. Marc Simont has made the pictures, half in full color, and they too have a childlike directness (with an underlying sophistication that adults will recognize). Not a book for everyone -but those who like it will like it immensely. The format (6 x 11) makes it a difficult book for shelving, so put it in the "clean hands" section of flat books. Here's your first book for Arbor Day use- a good spring and summer item.

Pub Date: June 15, 1956

ISBN: 978-0-06-443147-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1956

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Willems’ formula is still a winner.

THE PIGEON NEEDS A BATH!

From the Pigeon series

The pigeon is back, and he is filthy!

Readers haven’t seen the pigeon for a couple of years, not since The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? (2012), and apparently he hasn’t bathed in all that time. Per the usual routine, the bus driver (clad in shower cap and bathrobe) opens the story by asking readers to help convince the pigeon to take a bath. Though he’s covered in grime, the obstreperous bird predictably resists. He glares at readers and suggests that maybe they need baths. With the turn of the page, Willems anticipates readers’ energetic denials: The pigeon demands, “YEAH! When was the last time YOU had a bath?!” Another beat allows children to supply the answer. “Oh.” A trio of flies that find him repulsive (“P.U.!”) convinces him it’s time. One spread with 29 separate panels depicts the pigeon adjusting the bath (“Too wet!…Too cold.…Too reflective”) before the page turn reveals him jumping in with a spread-filling “SPLASH!” Readers accustomed to the pigeon formula will note that here the story breaks from its normal rhythms; instead of throwing a tantrum, the pigeon discovers what readers already know: “This is FUN!” All the elements are in place, including page backgrounds that modulate from dirty browns to fresh, clean colors and endpapers that bookend the story (including a very funny turnabout for the duckling, here a rubber bath toy).

Willems’ formula is still a winner. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9087-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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