This book offers a fine mirror for brown boys who aspire to write, but it’s also a great pro-literacy story for all children...

A SQUIGGLY STORY

A positive tale of how a story can emerge organically from an inkling of an idea to an imaginative literary excursion—even at the hands of preliterate kids.

This story’s young, brown-skinned male protagonist admires his big sister, who loves to read and write “BIG words and (little) words, page after page.” But with just his “swirl after swirl. Squiggle after squiggle,” he thinks he can’t write a story. Like any good writing coach, his sister tells him: “Write what you KNOW.” Using letters and squiggles, he writes about a visit to the ocean, where he and his sister play soccer, see waves, and encounter a shark. His story looks like this: “I o U …. VvVVvv ^.” During show and tell at school, he shares his draft and gets feedback, which helps him finish the story. Lowery’s line drawings and use of frames and speech bubbles common in comics make this a lively story that keeps readers guessing. He paints the protagonist’s story in progress in pale green, bringing the child’s imagination to life. The story’s ending suggests a sequel—or several—that will perhaps illustrate the protagonist’s growth as both reader and writer.

This book offers a fine mirror for brown boys who aspire to write, but it’s also a great pro-literacy story for all children about brown kids who hold reading and writing in high regard. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-77138-016-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

HOME

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more