Honey: A Gift from Nature by Yumiko Fujiwara, illus. by Hideko Ise

3 stars! The images in the book are luminous: a breakfast table on a bright sunny morning; fat, butter-colored honeybees; a shimmering veil of rain; richly hued autumn leaves; and honey in tones of yellow, amber, gold and brown.

Four Little Old Men : A (Mostly) True Tale from a Small Cajun Town by Burton P. Brodt, illus. by Luc Melanson

2 stars! Sterling Publishing Co. has a fantastic reputation for nonfiction for children; perhaps they need to stick to what they do well, and leave the picture books to someone else.

Big Bang!: The Tongue-Tickling Tale of a Speck That Became Spectacular by Carolyn Cinami Decristofano, illus. by Michael Carroll

4 stars! Michael Cooper’s vibrant illustrations add dazzle with images ranging from computer generated to photo-realism to painterly. The text, in part thanks to the author and in part thanks to an art design team that listened, is diverse as well; shapely and colorful, with concrete poetry-like text stretching and growing.