Imaginative youngsters who dream of flight or are of a similar fanciful bent will appreciate this ode to creativity.

CLOUD CHASER

An intergenerational friendship produces a flying machine.

Emery’s head is in the clouds. He dreams of flying and constantly sketches airplane designs. While disapproving of flighty activities, Emery’s parents encourage him to make friends with elderly new neighbor Leon. On a surreptitious foray into Leon’s garden, Emery discovers the man owns supplies with which to construct his dream plane. Another day, having uncannily intuited Emery’s passion, Leon proffers a propeller. Subsequently, the pair forges a strong bond in which Leon, whose soaring imagination matches Emery’s, promotes his friend’s inventiveness. Over one summer, they build a successful flier, though not without mishaps. Leon disappears one day, leaving a note urging Emery to continue inventing. Emery’s selfless act of generosity at the end satisfyingly but poignantly concludes the tale. The child-appealing message is clear in this well-written, gracefully translated French import via Britain: Fly high. Alas, the quirky, colorful acrylic paintings are surprisingly static, and the faces of the characters, both white, are generally unexpressive. Emery, sporting an aviator’s white scarf, shorts, and dark boots, has button eyes and wind-swept hair. White-bearded Leon’s body is lean and lanky, and his hat resembles a propeller, amusingly emphasized in one illustration. Lots of white space and areas of solid colored backgrounds suggest openness, befitting the theme.

Imaginative youngsters who dream of flight or are of a similar fanciful bent will appreciate this ode to creativity. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78285-411-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

WE ARE IN A BOOK!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Stalwart friends Piggie and Gerald the elephant push the metafictive envelope in a big way when they realize that "someone is looking at us." Is it a monster? worries Gerald. "No," replies the squinting Piggie. "It is... / a reader! / A reader is reading us!" How? wonders Gerald. Piggie drapes herself on a word bubble to demonstrate: "We are in a book!" "THAT IS SO COOL!" Joy leads to a little bit of clever practical joking—Piggie figures out how to make the readers say "banana" out loud, and hilarity ensues—which gives way to existential angst: "The book ends?!" exclaims an appalled Gerald. Emergent readers just beginning to grapple one-on-one with the rules of the printed codex will find the friends' antics both funny and provocative: Just who is in control here, anyway? As always, Willems displays his customary control of both body language and pacing even as he challenges his readers to engage with his characters and the physicality of their book . The friends' solution to the book's imminent end? "Hello. Will you please read us again?" You bet. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4231-3308-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

Did you like this book?

more