Jenny Mei Is Sad by Tracy Subisak

Cover image of Jenny Mei Is Sad.

Jenny Mei Is Sad by Tracy Subisak (9780316537711)

A little girl knows that her best friend is sad. She can tell even though Jenny continues to smile, share and make others laugh. Some days though, Jenny isn’t as happy. She gets angry and has to stay late to talk with the teacher. The little girl waits for Jenny to be done and they walk home together. The walk is quiet and they stop for popsicles. One blue and one purple, one blue tongue and one purple tongue. Jenny doesn’t answer when she is asked how she is doing, but her friend stays with her for all of the fun and not-fun times.

This picture book sensitively looks at how a child experiencing a difficulty at home, in this case an adult facing a health crisis, changes and acts. It also shows what a supportive friendship looks like, which really means just being there, asking once, and then listening when they want to talk. The main character of the book isn’t named and the book is told in her voice, making it all the more personal.

The text of the book never directly shares what is happening to Jenny, but the pictures reveal it when Jenny returns home at the end of the day. The illustrations are focused on the girls themselves and their relationship with one another, whether they are across the room or holding hands.

Full of empathy and kindness. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Mars Is by Suzanne Slade

Cover image for Mars Is.

Mars Is: Stark Slopes, Silvery Snow, and Startling Surprises by Suzanne Slade (9781682631881)

Taking photos from the HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) that began orbiting Mars in 2006, this nonfiction picture book gives an intimate look at the planet. The large text in the book continues the Mars is… from the title while smaller text offers scientific details about what the image is revealing about Mars. While the images are all of the surface of Mars, they are unique and different from one another, each showing elements of wind, rock, dunes and craters that tell an even greater history of what has formed the planet.

Slade harnesses the incredible photographs from the HiRISE project with huge impact. The design of the book uses the images as the background for the entire page, allowing readers to get the most out of every image. The variety of images is remarkable too, from the paleness of the sand dunes to the dark drama of the slopes and craters.

Slade’s text allows readers to really understand what each image is showing about Mars and what it reveals about how the planet’s surface has formed and continues to evolve and change. She uses technical terms and explains them clearly, taking readers through the image and inviting them to look at it even more closely. At the end of the book, the HiRISE project is explained.

A fantastic science book that children will love to explore. Appropriate for ages 5-8.

Reviewed from ARC provided by Peachtree.