A stunning work of creative genius sure to captivate the young and lend pure delight to beachcombers of any age.

READ REVIEW

ASHLEY BRYAN'S PUPPETS

MAKING SOMETHING FROM EVERYTHING

A riveting collection of puppets made from found objects at the seashore.

Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement winner Bryan here presents the uncanny fruit of over 50 years of artistry and beachcombing. A child of the Depression, Bryan early on developed a penchant for collecting cast-off items from New York City sidewalks. As an adult, when walking the shores of Maine’s Little Cranberry Island, he does the same, now turning much of his seaside bounty into the more than 30 hand puppets captured here in exquisite detail by photographer Hannon. Not only do shells, sea glass and driftwood find new life in Bryan’s African folklore–inspired creations, but bits of net, marbles, thumbtacks, gloves, twine, all kinds of bones, watchbands, forks, fur and a bedpost—not to mention the occasional button—and more amazingly transform into appendages and accessories. As if his wildly fashioned creatures don’t have enough character, Bryan gives each of his puppets a name and poem describing both what it’s made from and its vision. Says the shamanlike Spirit Guardian: “We are born of cast-off pieces / And, like magic, brought alive / By your own imagination. / That’s the gift / By which we thrive.”

A stunning work of creative genius sure to captivate the young and lend pure delight to beachcombers of any age. (Picture book/poetry. 4 & up)

Pub Date: July 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-8728-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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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

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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