Ancient Rhymes: A Dolphin Lullaby
Canyon?s love for Denver?s music is evident in the lush,romantic illustrations that accompany this dolphin lullaby. The idyllic ocean environment that welcomes the baby dolphin at its birth has mystical connections to the natural world as a whole. The page layout and visual images are striking. Readers will probably want to play the CD that accompanies the hardcover edition while viewing the pictures. Without music, the text seems convoluted and cloying at times and wouldn?t be easy to read aloud. Purchase as needed to satisfy requests from Denver fans, who will be the book?s most likely audience.
— School Library Journal (November 2004)
Around one Cactus
In a cadence reminiscent of Arnold Lobel?s The Rose in My Garden (HarperTrophy, 1993), Fredericks utilizes a cumulative rhyme to introduce the community of a Saguaro cactus. A young boy observes the impressive plant and wonders, ?Who could be living on this arid ground?? As night falls, he walks away and the animals begin to ?play and prey.? First, ?A leaping rat builds a cozy nest/(A sheltered place for her young to rest)/Beside the cactus tall and grand,/A haven for creatures in a waterless land.? Each additional verse conveys a few facts about another desert inhabitant. A ?Field Notes? section at the end explains that these animals can be found in the Sonoran desert and provides some background about each of them. DiRubbio?s vibrantly colored and detailed illustrations-including pictures of a speckled Gila monster and sharp-eyed owl-are sized perfectly to provide clarity. Combining an elegant text with dramatic artwork, this book is an attention-grabbing read-aloud and a winner for any collection.
— School Library Journal (September 2004)
The BLUES Go Birding Across America
Five avian siblings go bird-watching across the United States to find the perfect song to sing at the White House Fourth of July celebration. There’s lots of action on every page with speech bubbles for each bird; practical bird-watching tips on yellow sticky notes; field guide information; and notebook diary-type entries by each sibling. Each spread is filled with colorful details and a lot of textual variety. The traveling birds are drawn in different outfits as they surf in Hawaii and see an albatross; fish in San Francisco Bay and watch ring-billed gulls; and wade through the Okefenokee Swamp on stilts to see a spoonbill before arriving at the White House. Many corny jokes will appeal to young senses of humor, e.g., “Don’t these humm-m-ingbirds know the words?” Uno, one of the brothers, concludes, “I guess fancy songs and flashy feathers always impress females.” Sammi corrects his slanted remark a few pages later in her own notebook, “Father Mallard had a bright green head. He doesn’t take care of babies, so he doesn’t need to be camouflaged.” This is a lighthearted romp with solid information on birds and bird-watching that could inspire future ornithologists.
— School Library Journal (April 2010)
Created with polymer clay and photographed, the vibrant spreads show delicately feathered figures and urban backdrops in an array of rainbow colors. Children will enjoy their details and obvious technical skill ? An arched-window cutout appears throughout, framing scenes and adding an element of surprise. It?s great to encourage kids? interest in what so many consider an unlovable creature, and larger libraries may want to add this interesting title.
— School Library Journal (August 1, 2006)
Earth Day Birthday
. . . With its realistic artwork, this attractive package would make an appealing sing-along supplement to a unit or storytime on Earth Day.
— School Library Journal – Lynn K. Vanca (July 2004)
Forest Bright, Forest Night
Using a rhythmic text and a turn-it-over format, this offering explores the concept that some forest animals are diurnal while others are nocturnal. The details of the lush, almost surreal, illustrations realistically convey the creatures? appearances and activities. The imaginative interpretation of the landscape and its inhabitants offers youngsters an unusual perspective of forest life. During daylight hours, they can observe deer splashing through a stream while an owl dozes in a nearby tree, snakes staring at sleeping foxes, and blue jays squawking as skunks snooze in a hollow log. After turning the book over to the ?forest night,? readers see the deer bedded down while the owl searches for food, the foxes on the prowl as the snakes rest in a tangled bunch, and the skunks scurrying about while a jay sleeps with its head tucked beneath its wing. The strong artwork will hold children?s interest as they search for all of the hidden animals. A fun introduction to nature.
— School Library Journal (October 2005)
The Forever Forest
Anna and Peter, a mother and son from Sweden, visit the Costa Rican rainforest called El Bosque Eterno de los Ni?os (the BEN) and learn about its unique plants and animals. As they hike to various parts of the forest, Peter is surprised to discover that fundraising that led to the BEN?s establishment began 20 years ago through the efforts of a second-grade class in Sweden. One of the children was his mom. Despite the amount of information conveyed in the narrative and conversations, the story doesn?t seem contrived. Small cartoons of the people appear at the bottom corners of the large, colorful illustrations of various animals and forest landscapes. The central pictures are big enough for group sharing. Older readers can find out more about the individual plants and animals in the paragraphs contained in sidebars. A two-page explanation of the origins of the Children?s Eternal Rainforest and photos of the area appear after the main text. Those who want to know more about the BEN?s ecology and origins can find lots of photos and information in Dorothy Hinshaw Patent?s Children Save the Rain Forest (Dutton, 1996). Pratt-Serafini?s book serves as a good introduction to the BEN itself and to children?s conservation efforts.
— School Library Journal – Kathy Piehl – Minnesota State University (June 2008)
The Children?s Eternal Rainforest in Costa Rica owes its preservation to a group of school children from Sweden and their fundraising efforts to purchase and protect the forest. Word of their project spread and eventually children in 44 countries were contributing to the fund. Kristin Joy Pratt-Serafini and Rachel Crandell?s The Forever Forest: Kids Save a Tropical Treasure imagines a young boy from Sweden visiting the rain forest with his mother, only to discover that she was one of the members of the original second-grade sponsoring class. Peter?s explorations with his parent are detailed in horizontal text boxes; information about the species they observe is found in vertical panels. From these panels cartoon figures of the mother and her son peer into Pratt-Serafini?s colorful jungle scenes. The fact that children played such a important role in saving this rain forest may inspire others to investigate conservation projects.
— School Library Journal – Grace Oliff (September 22, 2009)
Going Home: The Mystery of Animal Migration
“Teachers especially will welcome this poetic look at animal migration patterns. Ten critters, ranging from Canada geese to caribou and loggerhead turtles, celebrate their “going home” with a rhyme, a small paragraph of information, and a colorful, realistic illustration spreading across facing pages. A large map helps readers follow migratory patterns, and a closing section contains a look at the “mystery” of migration, further data on the creatures in focus, and a handy-dandy passel of suggestions, such as to “Write Your Own Story” about an animal not included in this book. Similar in scope to Berkes’s Over in the Arctic (2008) and Over in the Jungle (2007, both Dawn), the book is a pleasant way to tie creative writing and natural history in a simple package.
— School Library Journal (May 2010)
How we Know What we Know About Our Changing Climate
Cherry and Braasch introduce readers to scientists around the world whose research contributes to an understanding of the causes and consequences of global warming. They also describe the work of citizen scientists, including children, whose observations contribute to knowledge about important changes that are occurring. Studies range from documenting bloom dates of trees and flowers to extracting mud cores from the ocean floor. Small color photographs show the fieldwork and experiments of scientists and students. Even though many findings indicate a grim outlook for plant and animal life, including humans, if the current trends continue, the au-thors consistently note ways in which students can have a positive impact by making personal choices and influencing public policy. A concluding spread identifies the more than 40 scientists mentioned in the text. The book?s wide-ranging exploration of scientific studies and the encouragement to people of every age to become citizen scientists and active participants for change make this a valuable purchase.
— School Library Journal (June 2008) – Starred Review
A girl is fascinated by the flock of wild turkeys living near her home. Simple, rhyming text describes the appearance and habits of the birds throughout the year. In the spring, Jenny watches from her window as “Toms strut and/puff to look their/best. Turkey hens make/shallow nests.” Respectful of nature, she observes from a distance as baby poults hatch in the summer and roost high in backyard trees in autumn. In the winter, Jenny follows a trail of footprints and spies her turkey friends perched on top of a snowman. Falwell’s collage illustrations include leaf prints and vibrantly capture the changing seasonal landscapes. An afterword, “Jenny’s Journal,” provides more facts about wild turkeys. This informational picture book will inspire young naturalists to explore their own surroundings.
— School Libary Journal (December 2011)
In One Tidepool
In this eye-catching title, a little girl peers into a tidepool and observes the animals living there. The text begins with a wisecracking, unrhymed letter to the ?Two-Armed Explorer? from a sea star. From there it moves to a rhymed description of a coastline; a spread with the single line, ?This is the tidepool?; and then a rhymed tribute to the ?curly-haired girl with wondering eyes? who ?truly cared? for the creatures. Finally, the bulk of the book is a ?House-That-Jack-Built?-style cumulative rhyme introducing barnacles, fish, anemones, a sponge, snails, crabs, limpets, and a sea star. . . . the imagery is apt and engaging. A page of field notes gives brief information about each of the animals, and several bibliographies list other books about the shore, by the author, and by the publisher. Full-bleed, double-page illustrations are bright and detailed, bordering on the surreal in color and pattern…
— School Libary Journal (November 2002)
Jo MacDonald Had a Garden
To the reworking of the familiar song, the author has brought the four seasons of a garden to life. Jo, the redheaded granddaughter of Old MacDonald, and her friend Mike enjoy the outdoors and the work of planting a wildlife-friendly garden. The dirt flies from the shovel “with a dig-dig here, and a dig-dig there,” and the kids flap their arms like a bird’s wings, “with a flit-flit here, and a flit-flit there.” The observant eye will find seven wild creatures enjoying the garden, and careful readers will read the plant labels and find the seven that are featured. Two concluding pages identify the flora and fauna and suggest relevant indoor activities, such as drawing a picture of the sunflower, planting a seed, and naming the four vegetables Jo and Mike planted. Pretty to look at, easy to sing along to, and a nice introduction to wildlife-habitat creation.
— School Library Journal (June 2012)
In a rhyming text, Kroll describes the nurturing behavior of mothers. The poetry is written in bold print above single and double-page paintings of animal mothers and their offspring. Some interesting facts about each creature are given on the lower portion of the page. The illustrations are splendid; the animal moms have loving expressions and even the crabs are smiling. The painting of a polar bear and her two cubs peering out from the safety of their den radiates with security and comfort. Katy Main?s Baby Animals of the North (Alaska Northwest, 1994) while not written in verse, is similar in mood, but Kroll?s book encompasses more animals from around the globe. This ?warm and fuzzy? book is perfect for Mother?s Day or any day sharing.
— School Library Journal (March 1999)
Over in the Arctic
Following Over in the Ocean (2004) and Over in the Jungle (2007, both Dawn), this latest spin on the familiar ?Over in the Meadow? rhyme takes readers on another adventure. Each page highlights a different animal, including a polar bear and her cub, an Arctic hare and her leverets, and a wolf and his pups. The last verse tells of 10 ?surprise? animals hiding in the previous pages and invites children to go back to the beginning for a closer read. An author?s note gives more information about the Arctic tundra and explains that while most of the details in the book are factual, the number of babies each animal would have according to the rhyme is not accurate. Spreads feature chunky cut-paper collages in a cool palette. An artist?s note explains the process for creating the illustrations. Other interesting back matter includes tips for extended activities and notes for the traditional ?Over in the Meadow? tune with the altered Arctic lyrics. This book serves as a useful introduction to the area.
— School Library Journal – Julie Roach (September 2008)
Over in the Jungle
Another variation on the familiar song, this one enumerates some of the unusual fauna of the rain forest. It not only spot-lights some of the animals-marmosets, parrots, honey bears, leaf cutter ants, etc.-but also offers pertinent information on the habitat. Berkes describes the different layers of the rainforest and its importance to our global ecology, and suggests movement activities for children to act out the rhyme. The unusual and colorful illustrations are made with polymer clay and then photographed, giving them a three-dimensional look. Each spread has the text and a number on the left against a dark-green leaf background, and shows one animal family with the correct number of babies as well as several other sets of indigenous flora or fauna to count. A long double page shows all the levels of the rain forest in cross section, and children are challenged to count the animals previously encountered and now hang-ing on the vines and hiding underneath the trees, etc. This is a handsome book on an important subject, and it can serve as recreational reading as well as an introduction to a basic unit on the rain forest.
— School Library Journal – Judith Constantinides (May 2007)
Pratt-Serfini has created a joyful probe that will capture the interest and imagination of young readers. A young narrator explores Arizona?s Sonoran Desert, cleverly recording her musings, scientific facts and questions, and accounts of her experiences in a nature journal decorated by her paintings of the native plants and animals and of her new friends. The watercolors masterfully draw attention to the exciting aspects of the desert that Megan has discovered and studied. On one side of the spread, a frame of the flora and fauna surrounds the central action in the youngster?s adventure. It faces bits and pieces of articles and reveries decorated by cutouts that will inspire young readers to make their own study and nature journals. Though the Library of Congress has classified the book as nonfiction, everything except the scientific facts ? the textual citations, characterizations, and plot ? is fiction. An appealing work that will inspire a love of nature in young readers.
— School Library Journal – Nancy Call (September 2002)
Seashells by the Seashore
In this rhyming text, a young girl accumulates a dozen shells as a gift for Grandma?s birthday. Watercolor seashore vistas feature blonde Sue as she enlists her brother and his friend in finding her treasures. A vertical bar on the left side of each spread gathers the labeled collection together for viewing as the day progresses. Berkes offers ample facts in her rhymes, and gives a short paragraph of information on each type of shell on a spread at the end. . . . Noreika?s detailed, realistic shell studies gracefully contrast with the misty landscapes that capture a range of unique seaside hues. While the tear-out identification card for readers to use as they roam the shore may soon be lost, young beachcombers will still be able to appreciate this lesson.
(Publisher?s Note: The tear-out shell identification card referred to in this review is only included in the paperback version of this title.)
— School Library Journal (April 2002)
A Swim Through the Sea
For each letter, a creature is spotlighted and framed by a colorful border featuring other organisms whole names begin with the same letter . . . all of the flowing, fluid pictures are full of action and detail.
— School Library Journal