Books by H.B. Lewis

MY PENGUIN OSBERT IN LOVE by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
ANIMALS
Released: Jan. 13, 2009

The child-and-penguin duo introduced in the fresh and funny My Penguin Osbert (2004) returns for a pallid new adventure. When Osbert brings all his new penguin friends from the zoo to the unnamed narrator's house, it's to conscript him into taking them to a South Pole viewing of the Southern lights—at which Osbert loses his heart to the lovely Aurora Australis, who invited them. Kimmel and Lewis employ the same combination of understated text against sweetly ironic watercolor-and-pastel illustrations, but even though this story goes all the way to Antarctica and back, it hasn't the emotional or humorous legs of its predecessor—a shame. (Picture book. 6-9)Read full book review >
MY PENGUIN OSBERT by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2004

Thanks to an unseen but unusually obliging Santa, this cautionary tale of a lad discovering the hazards of even carefully phrased wishes reaches a happy resolution. On Christmas morning, Joe finds just what he asked for under the tree: a live, 12-inch-tall penguin. He only thinks that he's ready to care for such a companion, however; after a very long romp in the snow, a cold shared bath, a breakfast of creamed herring, and a lot of cleaning up, he's penning another polite letter to Santa, allowing as how some other gift would be okay, too. Next morning, he has a new sweater and two tickets to the zoo's Antarctic World, which turns out to be penguin heaven. In Lewis's digitally reworked watercolors, muted winter grays and blues unite with fuzzy-edged forms to create a chilly-looking but intimate visual tone, and Osbert's winning, puppy-like personality comes through clearly. Salutary reading for all children campaigning for a pet. (Picture book. 7-9)Read full book review >
WINNIE MAE by H.B. Lewis
by H.B. Lewis, illustrated by H.B. Lewis
ADVENTURE
Released: Oct. 1, 1998

A beautiful but over-designed book—it has a small, thin typeface that is difficult to read—about a boy and his model planes. As soon as he finishes building one, he starts saving for the next one. And the next one is the Winnie Mae, flown around the world by the intrepid Wiley Post with his eye patch (Post died just recently). The boy is amazed by the instructions (some of which appear on the endpapers), for example, "cut swiftly and decisively but with compassion." When the Winnie Mae is finished, and he takes it to his favorite tree, he can imagine flying it, and so he does. The boy views his world from above, and marvels at the magic. The story unfolds gracefully to this point, but becomes awkward; when the boy goes to show his plane to some old fishermen, he is stopped by older boys who tear the Winnie Mae to pieces. The boy rejects the explanation that the model plane was only a key to unlocking his imagination, and isn't helped by his parents, who are too concerned with "work and following rules." In a forced resolution, the magic of flying is restored to the boy, who sees the goodness of his parents and the fishermen. Splendid illustrations, reminiscent of the work of Chris Van Allsburg, range in size from tiny vignettes to full-page spreads, all in a rich and vivid style. In his first picture book, Lewis uses close-ups, panoramas, edgy angles, and light and dark to grand effect. The book may captivate older boys with dreams of flying, if they can be book-talked past the picture-book format. (Picture book. 8-11) Read full book review >
CAN I HAVE A STEGOSAURUS, MOM? CAN I? PLEASE!? by Lois G. Grambling
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 1, 1995

The pleading voice of the title belongs to an impish boy, baseball cap worn backwards, who negotiates fiercely. A stegosaurus would scare monsters from his room, help him clean his plate at dinner, escort him trick-or-treating, take him to the North Pole to deliver a Christmas list. He has found an immense egg in the woods, so the question is no mere hypothetical. But when the egg hatches, he has to switch his stance slightly: ``Can I have a Tyrannosaurus Rex, Mom?'' The boy seems older than the book's intended audience, who may find the twist at the end a little too subtle. It's forced, and one-joke funny. The illustrations, sometimes haunting and sometimes baffling, are soft-edged; they are full of dramatic angles and lighting effects. (Picture book. 3-6) Read full book review >