A B-show book from a main-event talent, explicitly intended for established fans.

ADAM AND THE GOLDEN HORSESHOE

From the Elite Team series

A picture book paneled and paced like a graphic novel encouraging resilience and self-esteem.

The third installment in the Elite Team, an inspirational series from the eponymous professional wrestling stable, comes from Adam “Hangman” Page, a rising All Elite Wrestling star with a cowboy gimmick. In the book, although child Adam loves his guitar, he’s nervous about an upcoming talent show where he’ll compete among friends, recognizable as fellow stable members. After a few botches, Adam wants to quit, but his sentient boots offer a way out: a lucky golden horseshoe hidden in Aaron’s Creek, the adult Page persona’s kayfabe hometown. Page and series illustrator Coburn seem inspired by cinematic Westerns, as Adam vanquishes foes and conquers obstacles including a train robber (by losing his balance), a raging river (by holding on tight to a log), and a massive tornado (by lassoing it!). Dusty, full-color images in partial- and full-page panels consist of midaction freeze frames concentrated on characters’ expressions; all the critters Adam encounters resemble fellow wrestlers. Adam secures the Golden Horseshoe and, back home, triumphs at the talent show but realizes self-confidence is all he needed to win. Both story and moral are fairly predictable, and the wrestling-world references will exclude readers encountering them here for the first time. Though some of the wrestlers featured—including Page—have brownish skin, their real-life corollaries are all white males. People of color—and women—eventually appear, but only in backgrounds.

A B-show book from a main-event talent, explicitly intended for established fans. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8 )

Pub Date: May 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9993886-2-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Trism Books

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

WHAT THE ROAD SAID

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

Did you like this book?

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more