A memorable gallery of humanity (and its outliers). (Picture book. 6-9)

READ REVIEW

PEOPLE

In the wake of Seasons (2010), an equally beguiling barrage of simple images demonstrating this French illustrator’s unusual technical command and sharp powers of observation.

Screen printed on pleasantly rough paper in a limited range of colors, each of the over 200 figures (one per page, with rare exceptions) is composed of a few sharply distinct, realistically formed elements. They float beneath a large word or phrase that identifies a familiar activity (“Sleeping”), occupation (“Rabbi,” “Balloon Pilot”) or personal feature (“Amputee”). Many are paired with the facing image, often to witty effect: “Spy” follows “Eavesdropper”; a “Contortionist” and a “Plumber” adopt similar poses; the wintry breath of a man “Shivering” echoes that of one “Smoking.” Though most sport pink skin and contemporary western clothing, Blexbolex extends his purview with, for instance, two Maasai “Warriors” leaping, an Asian “Heroine” brandishing sais, a “Cowboy” and a “Pirate” in traditional garb—not to mention a “Corpse,” a green-skinned “Alien,” a “Mermaid” and a variety of humanoids from myth and legend such as “Cyclops” and “Demon.” The artist could have made more of an effort to be nonsexist in his language (“Fireman”) and exemplars (“Secretary,” “Waitress”), but the overall diversity and visual harmony complement the sheer tactile pleasure of turning the pages to create, cumulatively, an unusually rich browsing experience.

A memorable gallery of humanity (and its outliers). (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59270-110-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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The artist’s fans might key in, but most young readers will be left in the dark.

LITTLE.COM

When your computer powers down, the little “dot” is off-duty. You don’t think it just sits there, do you?

In this tipsy flight from Steadman, originally published overseas in 2000, the tidy dot on the first page is quickly transformed into mad splotches of black sporting googly eyes. It zooms through cyberspace to have tea—or, rather ink (“I LOVE INK!”)—with “my friend the Duchess of Amalfi,” and then goes off to spatter the besieging Duke of Bogshott and his white-uniformed army. Serving largely as an excuse for the illustrator to wield pen and brush ever more ferociously across a series of spreads, this free-associative plotline culminates with an invitation to attend the wedding of the duke and duchess as “Best Dot” (“I was so excited I made a mess on her carpet”) and a quick return home: “And here I am, ready to work for you again—dot dot dot.” As a clever riff on the internet, this doesn’t hold a pixel to Randi Zuckerberg and Joel Berger’s Dot. (2013) or Goodnight iPad by “Ann Droid” (2011), and the illustrator’s whacked-out mite isn’t going to take young readers on the sort of imagination-stretching artistic rides that Peter Reynolds’ The Dot (2003) or Hervé Tullet’s Press Here (2011) offer. But it does at least dispense exuberantly unrestrained permission to paint outside the lines.

The artist’s fans might key in, but most young readers will be left in the dark. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-56792-520-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Godine

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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