From KIRKUS Playful encouragement for new swimmers. The text’s second-person address to the unnamed protagonist (a child who’s nervous about starting swim lessons) instructs: “The first thing you need to do is put on your suit.” An accompanying illustration shows the pigtailed tot in a suit and tie with a top hat and loafers. “No, not that type of suit. A swimsuit, silly!” comes the clarification. Once the child has changed into a red, girl’s swimsuit, the text follows as the protagonist nervously listens to the swim teacher’s instructions. The other children in the class don’t share the protagonist’s worries, and they happily follow directions while the protagonist hangs back, too scared even to dip a toe in the pool or to blow bubbles, let alone jump into the water. Words and pictures humorously play with meaning, as when the child blows soap bubbles with a wand rather than getting in the pool to blow bubbles in the water. Throughout, the cartoon illustrations amplify the humor, and translucent washes evoke the watery pool setting. By the book’s end, and after lots of patient encouragement, the protagonist is ready to “1…2…3… / JUMP!” into the water, where all the students get to try out flippers as they swim around together. The protagonist appears white, with long, brown hair; the teacher appears black, and the other three children at the lesson have varied skin tones, with two appearing to be children of color. A splash!
From THE BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS In this cheerful guide, an unseen narrator uses direct address to help the young protagonist through her first swim lesson. There is, of course, the suit (but not the gray three-piece with the top hat); then the cap (but not the jaunty baseball cap with the brim); and finally, goggles. Now, into the water. Well, maybe not yet—even after being assured that she will not freeze into a kidsicle and that there are no sea creatures, alligators, or sharks in sight, our girl just isn’t ready. The promise of flippers, however, finally gets her to take the leap, much to the enthusiastic cheers of her fellow pool-goers. Valentine’s buoyant illustrations deftly capture the playful milieu of the pool, from the sweet old ladies doing water aerobics to the excited kiddos jumping in with abandon, and the girl’s imaginings are made real in the art, with alligators, sea monsters, and mermaids all making an appearance. Dappled shades of teal and sky blue give the water both depth and movement while more solid pops of color can be found in swim caps, toys, and bathing suits; the girl’s trepidation is evident as oversized goggles magnify her already wide-eyed expression, and her triumphant plunge will surely garner cheers from viewers. Pair this with Cornwall’s Jabari Jumps (BCCB 5/17) for an encouraging primer before kiddos head off to make their big splash.
From SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL VERDICT A great way to encourage children to both explore the world around them and incorporate new activities into their daily lives. Dive right in.
RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE is the 2019 American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture Book of the Year and the Ag in the Classroom Book of the Year for several states, including Lisl's home state of Wisconsin!
From KIRKUS In this farm-themed picture book, children learn the sources of the foods they eat. Framed around children’s mealtimes, this cheery picture book by Detlefsen (If You Had a Jetpack, 2018, etc.) and from the publishing arm of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture pays tribute to farmers and farming. Illustrated with idyllic scenes of farmers at work and a diverse mix of children, the book begins with a little girl about to eat her pancake breakfast. The stories of farmers, her mother tells her, are “right here on your table,” and “Right this very minute,” farmers are in orchards testing juice oranges for ripeness, readying a field for planting wheat, and collecting maple sap for syrup.
An age-appropriate informational picture book offering a sunny celebration of farming.
Reviews are soaring for IF YOU HAD A JETPACK!
From KIRKUS A whimsical story that challenges readers to dream, create, and share their fun with everyone.
From SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL In addition to fostering a sense of curiosity and invention, this book encourages a spirit of kindness, as many of the protagonist's imaginary adventures involve him helping others. VERDICT An energetic, crowd-pleasing read-aloud that can be revisited again and again.
From THE BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS Graduates of the Numeroff books and Loomis’ Astro Bunnies (BCCB 2/01) can swoop right on to this slightly more frenetic adventure.
From BOOKLIST This vivid picture book will leave kids longing for jetpacks, while taking off on their own flights of fancy.
Check out what reviewers have to say about TIME FOR CRANBERRIES:
From KIRKUS The author, who lives on a marsh, calls this a love letter to the cranberry-growing community, but it is also an enlightening, joyful celebration of a little-explored agricultural endeavor.
From SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL VERDICT A charming depiction of a small family business that helps children understand the origins of their food.
From BOOKLIST A fine choice for young children who wonder how their food gets from farm to table. From HORN BOOK From the flooding of the cranberry marshes to the booming, corralling, suctioning, cleaning, and delivering, details of the harvest throughout are educational and informative.
From PUBLISHERS WEEKLY Debut author Detlefsen (who lives on a Wisconsin cranberry marsh herself) vividly details each step, introducing terminology like "booming"... and "corralling," which involves putting on waders and gathering the berries "into one big bunch called the pot." (When Sam slips, his father assures him, "I always say you're not a cranberry grower until you fall in.")