Unsuitable for school or public library shelves but giftworthy starter kits for budding Braques and preschool Pollocks.

READ REVIEW

FORGOTTEN JUNGLE

From the Etchart series

Nine prepared scratchboards packaged with a wooden stylus offer invitations to reveal a thematic set of artist’s scenes or, with selective scraping, add customized shapes and patterns to each.

Beneath a layer of removable black into which the outlines of hummingbirds, orchids, leopards, and other jungle flora and fauna are drawn as guidelines, Mirtalipova’s stylized pictures shimmer with pattern and color—which children can see for themselves by mechanically removing the entire layer or, if they so choose, alter (in limited ways) by scraping lines, spots, or stripes of their own. The pencil-shaped stylus, pointed at one end and chisel-ended at the other, comes in a reusable plastic cradle and definitely merits the cautionary hazard notices on the front and back covers. Like the co-published Enchanted Garden (and the other entries in this series), opposite each picture is a set of instructions that mix visual and verbal hints (some in rhyme: “What else is there for you to see? / A lizard climbing up the tree…”) that are capped at the end with an invitation to regard the illustrations as “your own work of art.” Fair enough, though they are really more like cooperative ventures.

Unsuitable for school or public library shelves but giftworthy starter kits for budding Braques and preschool Pollocks. (Novelty. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78603-141-9

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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For many readers, uneasy optics will take the fun out of this romp.

LLAMA UNLEASHES THE ALPACALYPSE

From the Llama Book series

Llamas, alpacas, and clones—oh my!

In this sequel to Llama Destroys the World (2019), hapless Llama once again wreaks unintentional, large-scale havoc—but this time, he (sort of) saves the day, too. After making an epic breakfast (and epic mess), Llama decides to build a machine that will enable him to avoid cleaning up. No, not a vacuum or dishwasher: It’s a machine that Llama uses to clone his friend “of impeccable tidiness,” Alpaca, in order to create an “army of cleaners.” Cream-colored Llama and light-brown Alpaca, both male, are pear shaped with short, stubby legs, bland expressions, and bulging eyes. Paired with the cartoon illustrations, the text’s comic timing shines: “Llama invited Alpaca over for lunch. / Llama invited Alpaca into the Replicator 3000. / And then, Llama invited disaster.” Soon the house is full of smiling Alpacas in purple scalloped aprons, single-mindedly cleaning—and, as one might expect, things don’t go as planned. Mealtimes (i.e. “second lunch” and dinner) offer opportunities for the “alpacalypse” to emerge from Llama’s house into the wider world. Everyday life grinds to a halt as the myriad Alpacas bearing mops, dusters, and plungers continue their cleaning crusade with no signs of stopping. That is, until the Alpacas realize they are hungry….It’s all very funny, but the sight of the paler-coated Llama exploiting the darker-coated Alpaca, for whom nothing brings “more joy than cleaning,” is an uncomfortable one.

For many readers, uneasy optics will take the fun out of this romp. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-22285-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad.

THE BIG BEYOND

THE STORY OF SPACE TRAVEL

A capsule history of space exploration, from early stargazing to probes roaming the surface of Mars.

In loosely rhymed couplets Carter’s high-speed account zooms past the inventions of constellations, telescopes, and flying machines to the launches of Sputnik I, the “Saturn Five” (spelled out, probably, to facilitate the rhyme) that put men on the moon, and later probes. He caps it all with an enticing suggestion: “We’ll need an astronaut (or two)— / so what do you think? Could it be YOU?” Cushley lines up a notably diverse array of prospective young space travelers for this finish, but anachronistic earlier views of a dark-skinned astronaut floating in orbit opposite poetic references to the dogs, cats, and other animals sent into space in the 1950s and a model of the space shuttle on a shelf next to a line of viewers watching the televised moon landing in 1969 show no great regard for verisimilitude. Also, his full-page opening picture of the Challenger, its ports painted to look like a smiley face, just moments before it blew up is a decidedly odd choice to illustrate the poem’s opening countdown. As with his cosmological lyric Once upon a Star (2018, illustrated by Mar Hernández), the poet closes with a page of further facts arranged as an acrostic.

Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-147-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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