Perhaps not a child’s first version of the familiar carol, but a whimsical, delightful take when more literal ones have been...

READ REVIEW

THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Eye-catching illustrations and some unusual interpretations distinguish this picture-book version of the traditional carol.

The first several days of Christmas unfold pleasingly if unsurprisingly, Wright’s fluid, friendly lines describing one partridge, two turtledoves, and so forth. Sparing use of gold paint that harmonizes with greens, blacks, and burgundies helps make pears, feathers, and stars pop. The artist photo-collages in swatches of fabric and marbled paper, which complements the liquid watercolors and gives the pages an extra-sumptuous look. The five acrobatic frogs performing with five gold rings give readers a sense that what’s to come may not be everything they’re expecting. “On the eighth day of Christmas,” a handsome sow suckles seven pink piggies while an eighth looks fetchingly out at readers. The “nine ladies dancing” are butterflies, and the “ten lords-a leaping” are top-hatted grasshoppers. Eleven hares with enormous ears blow bugles (which are not pipes, but only a curmudgeon would turn that distinction into a quibble), and 12 green-and-purple woodpeckers cling to tree trunks, ready to drum. The square, slightly smaller-than-usual trim gives the whole thing a cozy feel but still does not crowd the final stanza when all 12 gifts stretch out in one breathless column.

Perhaps not a child’s first version of the familiar carol, but a whimsical, delightful take when more literal ones have been read and put aside, as well as a handsome gift book for adults . (Picture book. 5-adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-571-33893-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity

THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO

When the war comes to Syria, many flee, but Alaa stays in his beloved city, Aleppo, where he continues to work as an ambulance driver and helps the wounded to safety.

Day after day, he misses his family and friends who have left, wondering where they are and how they are doing. His neighborhood empties—except for cats! However, these cats are affected by the conflict too; they’re left behind with shelters destroyed and food and water stringently limited. Alaa, who has a big heart, starts taking care of them using the little money he has. The love between man and cats multiplies, and many people from around the world step up to help. Soon, the cats of Aleppo get a pleasant shelter set in a courtyard. However, Alaa does not stop there and goes on to help other animals and more people, spreading joy, love, and hope. Based on a true story, this picture book is distinctive for its engaging narrative and impeccable illustrations. It is also enriched with notes from Alaa himself (the real one) as well as the authors and illustrator. The often-dramatic images offer a glimpse of the city prior to the conflict and a window on the real people who experience war and try to survive and help others around them.

A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity . (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more