More Than Sunny by Shelley Johannes

Cover image for More Than Sunny.

More Than Sunny by Shelley Johannes (9781419741814)

A girl and her little brother make their way through all of the seasons and all sorts of weather in this merry picture book. Told in rhymes, the book explores what makes each day special with a jolly sense of humor as things become soggy and froggy, or muggy and buggy, or ready and sleddy in the winter. The book centers on the warm relationship of the two children as they head outside no matter what the weather is doing and interact with the seasons.

Throughout the book, it’s the little girl who is always ready to go while her little brother is a bit more hesitant. Then he turns out to love it just as much as she does. Their shared rhymes add to the fun and bolster the clear connection between the two of them. The rhymes give the book a rollicking merriment that works particularly well as the seasons pass. It also works when the book gets quiet at the end and the rhymes continue but slow down.

The illustrations are done in pencil and mixed media and then finished digitally. The result is the warmth of the media and pencil lines combined with the dreamy digital backgrounds. They are inviting no matter the weather.

A cheerful book of rhymes, weather and seasons. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy provided by Abrams Books for Young Readers.

I Am the Wind by Michael Karg

Cover image for I Am the Wind

I Am the Wind by Michael Karg, illustrated by Sophie Diao (9781624149221)

On a cold and damp autumn day, a little girl joins in the windy day. The wind can breathe frost and bring fog. It can be soft as a shadow or scale the highest peaks in the north. The wind can run like the wolves or hug and settle in with the musk ox as night. The wind joins in the beauty of the northern lights and whistles around rocks on a snow leopard ledge. The wind can create storms in the rainforests, give pestrels a lift on their long journey, and whisper in cloud forests. Then it returns to an autumn playground, listening for the call to rise up once more.

Told in poetic language, this picture book celebrates the way that the wind touches all parts our world. It speaks to the power of the wind to help birds on their migrations and to create weather patterns. That power is contrasted nicely by the quieter sorts of wind and breezes in the book, examples of the wind at its gentlest too. The writing is strong and reads aloud nicely. The different animals highlighted in the book are interesting choices, making turning pages very enjoyable.

The illustrations carry readers across the globe, showing various animals and creatures in each habitat. The wind is depicted as swirls of color, almost dreamy at times and other times whooshing appropriately across the page.

Perfect for reading on a blustery day in any season. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy provided by Page Street Kids.

Feel the Fog by April Pulley Sayre

Feel the Fog cover image

Feel the Fog by April Pulley Sayre (9781534437609)

This is the fourth book in the Weather Walks series, following books on snow, rain and autumn. Here the phenomenon of fog is explored in all of its mysterious qualities. Fog rolls in, covering stone and forests. It covers up details of the landscape, making lights dim. The fog is cold and dewy. It coats spiderwebs and drips. The picture book goes on to explain why fog forms and the variety of places where fog is most likely to appear. It’s a misty, moist beautiful exploration of fog.

Sayre excels at mixing poetry with facts. She creates a sense of wonder and fascination with weather and its various forms. Her poem keeps the foggy facts accessible for small children, inviting them to explore and experience fog themselves. The end of the book includes an author’s note on fog and water vapor, explaining in more detail how fog forms and why it acts and feels the way it does.

As always, Sayre’s photographs are exceptional. She has so many images of fog here, from fog entering landscapes to close-ups of animals and creatures in the fog, both cloaked by it and clear against the foggy backgrounds. It is like taking a walk with her through the fog, as she shows you all of its wonders.

Beautiful and mysterious, explore the fog in this nonfiction picture book. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Beach Lane Books.

Every Color of Light by Hiroshi Osada

Every Color of Light by Hiroshi Osada

Every Color of Light by Hiroshi Osada, illustrated by Ryoji Arai, translated by David Boyd (9781592702916)

This picture book explores how weather impacts the sky and its light. Starting with just a pitter patter of rain, the rain steadily grows heavier and louder. Soon the lightning cracks across the sky and thunder booms. Colors swirl in the storm as the wind rises. Just as suddenly, the rain stops and light returns to the sky. Raindrops form crystals in the sunlight. Evening comes, spreading colors across the sky. The white moon rises in the darkening sky. Stars sparkle above, the moon reflected in a pool as everyone falls asleep.

The text in this Japanese import is marvelously poetic. It speaks to the impact of a storm on the sky and on the light you see. The drama of the storm is captured in both the text and the illustrations, just as the returning calm is. Both are celebrated in the book, something quite unusual as the quiet is allowed to be truly focused on.

The illustrations are what sets this picture book apart. Illustrated with glorious paintings that show nature and the changing light, the book shimmers and shines. The changing light sweeps on the pages bringing sun shafts, pink lightning strikes, dark night, and a bright moon.

Unusual and intensely beautiful, this picture book beckons you outside to linger for awhile. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Enchanted Lion Books.


A New Green Day by Antoinette Portis

A New Green Day by Antoinette Portis

A New Green Day by Antoinette Portis (9780823444885)

Welcome to your new day. The sun invites you to play when you wake up, creating a square on your pillow. Creatures are up and moving, snails scribbling across the sidewalk, inchworms measuring out their paths, and tadpoles punctuating the streams. There are things to find: leaves with paths imprinted on them, pebbles smoothed by the water. Then a storm arrives with lightning and thunder, rain pounding down. Mud is created to wriggle your toes in. Long shadows capture the approaching evening until night falls with a sky of stars and the voice of a cricket thrumming you to sleep.

Portis creates quite an invitation to head outside and experience nature with all of your senses from touching stones and leaves to feeling the rain to hearing the thunder and seeing the stars. It is all an immersive experience for the reader. Portis’ text is deceptively short and simple. Yet within each four-line verse she creates almost haiku moments of discovery.

The art was done in brush and sumi ink, leaf prints, and vine charcoal with the lettering done by hand. The illustrations are large and bold, offering a book that will work well shared with a group. They have a wonderful natural feel to them, tactile and warm.

Ideal for a summer day. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Neal Porter Books.

Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy by Tara Dairman

Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy by Tara Dairman

Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy by Tara Dairman, illustrated Archana Sreenivasan (9780525518068)

In India, two families must respond to the weather they are experiencing. One nomadic family, lives in the desert and must move in search of water. The other family, who live in a village, are experiencing a monsoon and the flooding it brings. Both families are multi-generational, both have children learning things, helping out and packing up. One family deals with blowing sand and sandstorms while the other has leaking roofs and puddles on the floor. Soon both start traveling in search of safety, one on camels and the other in a boat. Together, they reach the same mountain where they both find safety as well as each other.

In her author’s note, Dairman speaks about the Rabari people who inspired her families in the picture book. She captures their changing lifestyle from purely nomadic life to moving into villages. She also shows how weather can be threatening for both lifestyles. The writing is simple and just right for the smallest of children. Throughout the book, there are opposites in the two lifestyles, but there are some things that are quite similar.

The illustrations in this picture book are based on the illustrator’s personal experience in visiting a Rabari settlement. The detailed textiles fill the pages with color and pattern. Meanwhile the contrast of the warm golds of the desert and the cool blues of the monsoon work particularly well as they cross the pages. It’s a very effective way to view the two ways of life.

A glimpse of India’s nomadic people allows us all to see how weather impacts lives. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

On a Snow-Melting Day by Buffy Silverman

On a Snow-Melting Day by Buffy Silverman

On a Snow-Melting Day: Seeking Signs of Spring by Buffy Silverman (9781541581180)

This picture book captures the joys of early spring. Using skilled photography as well as rhyming text, explore the various elements of spring’s arrival. Icicles begin to drip, snow becomes slushy, lakes thaw and snowmen droop. Animals react too with birds singing more and sipping from icicles, frogs peeping, and salamanders emerging. Crocuses start to bloom along with other flowers too. The entire landscape is waking up and celebrating spring!

The photos in this book truly capture that tantalizing moment where spring arrives. The majority of them combine ice and snow with signs of spring, offering those fleeting moments of discovery for readers of the book. The text is simple and reads aloud well. It lets readers get glimpses of animals in thrilling ways from piles of sleeping snakes to the chickadee in flight to snatch a drink.

Spring into action and grab this one to make your winter days a little shorter. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Millbrook Press.

Review: The Biggest Puddle in the World by Mark Lee

The Biggest Puddle in the World by Mark Lee

The Biggest Puddle in the World by Mark Lee, illustrated by Nathalie Dion (9781554989799)

A little girl and her brother Charlie were staying with their grandparents for six days. On the first day, the spent time exploring the big old house. Then it started to rain. It rained the entire second day, as they continued to explore the house. It rained the entire third day, which they spent playing dress-up. The girl asked her grandfather, Big T, where the rain comes from. He promised to show her when the rain stopped and when they had found the biggest puddle. The next day, the sun was out and the children joined their grandfather outside. On their walk to find the biggest puddle, they explored small puddles, a stream, a pond and finally found the sea! Along the way, their grandfather explained the water cycle with evaporation, the clouds, rain and bodies of water.

Lee combines a science lesson with a fictional picture book very successfully here. The initial story of children visiting grandparents is filled with lovely moments of play and connection. The children may be bored at times, but they also find ways to spend their time even as rain comes down all around the house. When the sun returns, the world opens up to them and their adventures becomes less imagination and more real. The facts shared about the water cycle are shown as part of their walk and a natural conversation. Dion’s illustrations are light and filled with a sense of movement and air. The gray rainy days spent inside contrast beautifully with the sunshine of the outdoor pages.

A quiet picture book about family, weather and water. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Groundwood Books.

Review: Red Sky at Night by Elly MacKay

Red Sky at Night by Elly MacKay

Red Sky at Night by Elly MacKay (9781101917831)

A series of weather-related sayings form the words in this book while also telling the story of a family heading out on a fishing trip for the day. The book begins with sayings like “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight” and “When the dew is on the grass, no rain will come to pass.” They indicate that it’s a great day to head out to fish and camp, so a grandfather takes his grandchildren out. There are sayings about sunset, about the moon, about rain. The next day on their way home though, the weather begins to change. Even the morning begins ominously with a “Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.” The little family makes it home before the rain begins, cozy and warm inside.

MacKay takes these sayings and weaves them together in to a story arc that guides young readers through the outdoors and the changing weather. Her illustrations are exceptional. Done with paper, light and photography, she calls them “lightbox illustrations or illuminated papercraft.” Her illustrations have such depth that one almost expects them to be physically layered pages in the book. The light in the illustrations bathes the reader, creating a physical experience of the weather at that moment.

An exceptional picture book about weather and beauty. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.