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

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Empathetic art and lyrical text blend for a touching and empowering tale.

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AARON SLATER, ILLUSTRATOR

From the Questioneers series

The latest book in the Questioneer series centers an African American boy who has dyslexia.

Roberts’ characteristic cartoon illustrations open on a family of six that includes two mothers of color, children of various abilities and racial presentations, and two very amused cats. In a style more expressive and stirring than other books in the series, Beaty presents a boy overcoming insecurities related to reading comprehension. Like Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas, the boy’s namesake, the protagonist loves to draw. More than drawing, however, young Aaron wishes to write, but when he tries to read, the letters appear scrambled (effectively illustrated with a string of wobbly, often backward letters that trail across the pages). The child retreats into drawing. After an entire school year of struggle, Aaron decides to just “blend in.” At the beginning of the next school year, a writing prompt from a new teacher inspires Aaron, who spends his evening attempting to write “a story. Write something true.” The next day in class, having failed to put words on paper, Aaron finds his voice and launches into a story that shows how “beauty and kindness and loving and art / lend courage to all with a welcoming heart.” In the illustration, a tableau of colorful mythological beings embodies Aaron’s tale. The text is set in a dyslexia-friendly type. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Empathetic art and lyrical text blend for a touching and empowering tale. (author's note, illustrator's note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5396-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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An adorable adventure in cartography.

CAMILLA, CARTOGRAPHER

An exercise of spatial thinking through a snowy forest.

Camilla the warthog collects maps. Maps of stars, New York, even the London Tube. She even owns an ancient map of her forest. Unfortunately for her, she believes all lands have been explored and there is nothing new to chart. However, with a snowy morning comes a new opportunity. When her hedgehog neighbor, Parsley, asks for her help in finding the creek, Camilla quivers with excitement when she realizes the snow-covered land “is uncharted territory.” With all landmarks covered in snow, Camilla and Parsley must use their spatial-reasoning skills and a compass to find a new way to the creek. Their trailblazing journey proves a challenge as they keep bumping into trees, rocks, and walls. But when they find the creek, Camilla will have all the information and tools ready to draw out a new map, to break out in case of another snowfall. Wood’s delightful illustrations and Dillemuth’s expertise in the matter engage readers in the woodland creatures’ adventures. In addition, Dillemuth, who holds a doctorate in geography, provides activities in the backmatter for parents and caregivers to help children develop their own spatial-reasoning skills, such as sketching and reading maps or using cardinal directions.

An adorable adventure in cartography. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4338-3033-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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