Breathtaking in scope, consider this a wordless testament to the power of not just imagination, but art itself; picture...

QUEST

From the Journey series , Vol. 2

On the coattails of Journey (2013), Becker gleefully expands and details his award-winning fantasyland, growing even more ambitious with his storytelling.

When readers last saw the boy and girl protagonists, they were sharing a tandem bike; this adventure opens with the children sheltering from raindrops under a bridge, the bike propped up against the wall. Suddenly, a desperate king bursts through a door set into the base of the bridge. He charges the two young heroes with collecting the six magic crayons that will defeat his realm’s enemy once and for all. Supplied with a map indicating where the crayons are hidden, the kids find each one (the girl stores them in a crayon bandolier), leading to a showdown with the bad guy that ends with a brilliant, rainbow-hued win for the forces of good. Harold-like, the children use the crayons to draw themselves out of scrapes along the way. Broadening his palette, Becker fills his book with myriad colorful details that will reward sharp-eyed fans. At the same time, his ink and watercolors evoke different kinds of architectural wonders (everything from Atlantis to Chichén Itzá). Part Indiana Jones, part Avatar: The Last Airbender, this book proves to be more exciting than its Caldecott Honor predecessor, emphasizing adventure over evocative metaphor.

Breathtaking in scope, consider this a wordless testament to the power of not just imagination, but art itself; picture books rarely feel this epic. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6595-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Charming characters, a clever plot and a quiet message tucked inside a humorous tale.

YOU ARE (NOT) SMALL

From the You Are (Not) Small series

Fuzzy, bearlike creatures of different sizes relate to one another in an amusing story that explores the relative nature of size.

A small purple creature meets a similarly shaped but much larger orange critter. The purple creature maintains that the orange creature is “big”; the orange one counters by calling the purple one “small.” This continues, devolving into a very funny shouting match, pages full of each type of creature hollering across the gutter. This is followed by a show-stopping double-page spread depicting two huge, blue legs and the single word “Boom!” in huge display type. Tiny, pink critters then float down by parachute, further complicating the size comparisons. Eventually, these brightly colored animals learn to see things in a different way. In the end, they decide they are all hungry and trudge off to eat together. The story is told effectively with just a few words per page, though younger readers might need help understanding the size and perspective concepts. Cartoon-style illustrations in ink and watercolor use simple shapes with heavy black outlines set off by lots of white space, with an oversized format and large typeface adding to the spare but polished design. While the story itself seems simple, the concepts are pertinent to several important social issues such as bullying and racism, as well as understanding point of view.

Charming characters, a clever plot and a quiet message tucked inside a humorous tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4772-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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