Day: April 1, 2014

Review: Weeds Find a Way by Cindy Jenson-Elliott

weeds find a way

Weeds Find a Way by Cindy Jenson-Elliott, illustrated by Carolyn Fisher

Weeds are the most tenacious of plants, growing where nothing else can survive.  This informational picture book looks at how these weeds are able to live in such harsh conditions.  It also explores the various ways that weeds reproduce from fluffy seeds carried on the wind to being pokey and sticky and carried along on clothes and fur.  Weeds can survive scorching heat and icy cold.  They fight back by having stems that break before their roots are pulled out, sour sap or thorns.  But in the end, this book is about survival and the beauty and wonder of weeds.  It’s a celebration of these unwanted plants.

The author has written this book in prose, but uses poetic devices like analogies and similes to show how weeds thrive.   Her language choices are very nice such as her depiction of milkweed: “…shot out of tight, dry pods like confetti from a popped balloon.”  Throughout the book there are descriptions like this and they bring the entire book a certain shine.

Fisher’s art is standout in this book.  Her illustrations are a dynamic mix of painting styles.  There are layers throughout her work, some smooth and detailed, others large and textured for the backgrounds, and almost lacy weedy touches.  They are strikingly lovely especially if you look at them closely, rather like the weeds they depict.

A choice addition to gardening story times, this will make a good summer or spring pick to share.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Beach Lane Books.

Review: I Hatched! by Jill Esbaum

i hatched

I Hatched! by Jill Esbaum, illustrated by Jen Corace

An exuberant chick hatches from an egg and merrily dashes through his first day in this spring picture book.  The chick quickly discovers that it has long legs and can really run.  While running, he discovers a frog, water, worms and many other things in his environment.  He learns to sing as well as poop as his day continues.  In the evening after returning to the nest, he gets a surprise when another egg cracks open.  Now he can be the expert and show his new sister everything!  Maybe.

This book is pure bottled joy.  The little chick is wildly positive and vivacious.  He captures the delight of babies in their world and invites readers to see things with fresh eyes as well.  Esbaum makes it clear that he is a killdeer with his long legs, his song and the way he acts.  It’s a pleasure to see a book about a bird in a nest on the ground, running fast that is not about learning to fly but more about being an individual and safely learning new things.

Corace’s illustrations reflect the same cheery delight.  They celebrate the little bird’s markings, the challenge of hatching from an egg, and happily show all that he explores in his first day.  They have a lightness and humor about them too.

Toddlers will enjoy this book that mirrors their own enthusiasm.  Perfect for spring story times with little ones.  Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy received from Dial.