News & Reviews (Week of November 18)
Interview with Traci Sorell in the NEA Today newsletter. Find it online.
"For young readers we are cultivating newer humans, newer citizens of communities and of the world and it is important for them to recognize that gratitude is a universal value."
Birder on Berry Lane
"Bird-loving readers will adore Tougias’s celebratory account of how wild animals can become an intrinsic part of one’s daily life."
"In this involving chronicle. . . . Readers will find this an uplifting look at the quest to make transplants the routine lifesaving procedures they have become."
A Kid of Their Own
December 15, 2019
In this companion book to A Crow of His Own (illustrated by David Hyde Costello, 2015), Clyde the rooster returns with his star wake-up crow.Regularly lapping up universal praise and adoration, Clyde is living a comfortable life on the farm until farmers Jay and Kevin introduce Fran the goat and her kid, Rowdy. Everyone is delighted to have a kid on the farm except for a jealous Clyde, who devises a plan to regain everyone's attention. The next morning he uses a megaphone to make an extra loud wake-up call, but the noise doesn't allow Rowdy the sleep he needs. His friend Roberta the goose asks him to tone it down, but he dials it up with amps and drums, crowing every time Rowdy tries to rest. Soon everyone is upset, and Clyde realizes he must do something to make up for his "foul behavior." Lambert depicts how hard the change brought about by a new young one in the family can be while also addressing inclusivity and celebrating everyone's unique voice. The charming watercolor illustrations include little hints that the two white, male farmers are preparing for another new arrival. As with the author's first book, the vocabulary sets this title apart from many others for this age group. Rarely using verbs like "said" or "asked," the text allows readers to discover "gushed," "huffed," and "gasped" alongside other crunchy vocabulary: "Resolve," "bereft," and "righteousness" are just a smattering. A sweet and unusual new-baby story with an uncommonly broadening vocabulary.
December 15, 2019
To ballet or to baseball? What's a girl to do? Nini loves ballet and her ballet outfits. Unfortunately, as her mother reminds her, it is time for baseball and her baseball uniform. Nini does not like anything about baseball—not her glove and not the field. The illustrations demonstrate her passive resistance in amusing vignettes that depict her practicing ballet moves, looking up at the sky, and flopped on the grass, a thoroughly ignored baseball next to her in each one. Her coach and her teammates remind her that baseball is a team sport and that everyone has to do their "best." Then the coach has a little heart-to-heart with Nini about how ballet practice can improve performance on the baseball field. At the next game, her team is leading, but then an opposing player hits the ball into the outfield, where Nini and her glove are waiting. Yes, it is a perfect ending for a baseball player who knows how to plié and hold her glove in the right spot at the right time. Nini, who has light-brown skin and fluffy brown hair, shares her round face and button eyes with all the other children, who are a mix of colors. The softly focused line-and-color illustrations highlight the yellow-and-blue baseball uniforms and the green baseball field. Pleasant fare for scheduled children.
Dream Big, Little Scientists
December 15, 2019
Budding scientists bed down.It's time to go to sleep, and kids all over the neighborhood are exhausted. Each page of this book features a different, racially diverse child climbing into bed in a room decorated according to their preferred STEM field. A dark-skinned, curly-haired tot, for example, is a sleepy budding astronomer who sits cross-legged on a quilt decorated with planets under posters showing the moon's phases. A lighter-skinned child wearing a hearing aid is a botanist who checks their potted plants before bedding down under posters of Thomas Meehan and George Washington Carver. A beige-skinned physicist who uses a wheelchair falls asleep next to a poster of Stephen Hawking and beneath a blanket patterned with positive and negative ions. An Asian child in a pair of orange pajamas pulls out a bedroll in a room dedicated to anthropology. The rhyming text cleverly weaves context clues about each branch of science into the couplets, and the simple, clear language is fun and easy to read. The cartoon illustrations are packed with details, including a poster that declares, "Climate Change is Happening Right Now" in the room of meteorologist twins, and numerous photos of diverse scientists and activists including Gabriel Fahrenheit, Wangari Maathai, and Mary Anning. Children and adults alike will discover something new with each reading. A clever and inclusive bedtime book about science and possibility.
Not a Butterfly Alphabet Book
December 1, 2019
"The sheer variety of these winged insects is on beautiful display in this glib alphabet book. . ."