Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Two Lyrical Picture Book Reviews and One Giveaway

When I picked LITTLE DANDELION: Seeds of the World and THE UNIVERSE AND YOU off my shelf to review this week, I didn't realize the connection between them. Beyond the fact that they are each beautiful STEM books published this year by Sleeping Bear Press, they each have sparse text, wonderful illustrations, and lyrical language. 


LITTLE DANDELION: Seeds of the World is Julia Richardson's debut picture book. The illustrations by Kristen & Kevin Howdeshell work beautifully with the text, even playfully incorporating some of the words within the images. In an email, Julia told me that the finished product was exactly how she had imagined! 

What is more universal than a child plucking a dandelion out of the ground, blowing on it, and watching the seeds float into the air? Not much. In fact, children around the world enjoy this same experience. 

I loved the internal rhyme, alliteration, and vivid verbs used throughout this book that demands to be read aloud.
Swish, swirl, one hundred seeds fly.

On the next page, the reader discovers a mama and baby elephant with the text, 

The flower fades. Fluff puffs. POOF! Swish, swirl, one hundred seeds fly.

Children will enjoy the repetition of the refrains as the dandelion seeds fly from continent to continent--even to Antartica! (I didn't know seeds could float on water and travel so far...did you?)

The seeds hitch a ride on a panda bear's fur in Asia, on a kangaroo's foot in Australia, and in bird poop in South America! 

The last illustration summarizes it all and makes a great geography lesson as well!

The Author's Note includes interesting facts about dandelions and challenges the reader with two questions: "If you were a dandelion seed, where would you bloom? How would you travel?" You can find two activity pages here


THE UNIVERSE AND YOU is written by award winning author, Suzanne Slade, and illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman. This is another wonderful STEM book with lovely figurative language including assonance, alliteration, and personification. I picture this book quickly becoming a child's favorite bedtime story.

The scene is set. What happens while you are asleep?

The reader discovers that even though "the earth beneath you seems solid. Still. But gently, ever so gently, it spins, lulling you to sleep."

Quickly, the little girl is pulled from her home to the solar system, and then back home again.

But while this little girl dreams big dreams of being an astronaut, the solar system "swirls and whirls" as part of the Milky Way galaxy which is just one part of the universe.

The book shifts again as the sun rises, and its rays "soar millions of miles through space sending warm light to sparkling streams, towering trees, hungry hummingbirds."

Coming full circle, the reader sees the little girl wake up at the same time that "all the galaxies in the universe, all the stars in the Milky Way, all the planets in the solar system are still moving, circling, and swirling."

I love how this book repeatedly goes back and forth from the child to the universe, cementing her place in the universe. 

Two pages of back matter reinforces information about the solar system and the universe. 

Check out this video that shows how The Universe and You was printed as well as a peek inside the book. And here's a coloring page.


I'm saving Little Dandelion for my grandchildren, but The Universe is up for grabs. Leave me a comment by November 19 at 4 PM to enter the giveaway. REMEMBER to leave your name and email address if you are new to my blog. I'll add your name twice if you are a teacher or librarian or if you start following my blog. Continental U.S. addresses only.

Congratulations to Gail Hurlburt who won ONE WEEK OF YOU; to Esther Bandy who won EQUAL and to Hewi Mason who won MY DADDY SHOWS ME THE SKY. 


Barbara Younger said...

I would love to win a copy of The Universe and You. The art and concept are as marvelous as our universe itself!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Barbara. Your name starts the list!

Danielle H. said...

Thank you for the chance to win this gorgeous, lyrical STEM book.

Carol Baldwin said...

You're in, Danielle!

Janet Frenck Sheets said...

I love the language in both books.

Carol Baldwin said...

YEs, indeed Janet!

Unknown said...

THey sound wonderful!
Tammi Truax, librarian
1 Franklin Dr
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Tammi!

Carol Baldwin said...

and Tammi-- you get in twice because you are a librarian!

Rosi said...

I can see why you want to hang on to Little Dandelion for your grands. It's very generous to give away The Universe and You. It looks like a lovely book. I think my great-grands might enjoy it.

Connie Porter Saunders said...

Thanks for two great suggestions!

Carol Baldwin said...

You're welcome, Connie. And thanks for following my blog!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Rosi, you're in!

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