These humans may be little, but their photos bring large delight. (Picture book. 3-7)

LITTLE HUMANS

The creator of the popular Humans of New York blog focuses his camera lens on the diverse children of New York City.

Street photographer Stanton has captured the lives of many New Yorkers, but none ever this small, all in one place. “Little humans can do big things, // if they stand up tall / and hold on tight. // Sure, sometimes they fall. / But they get back up. // They’ll be alright!” Rhyming text highlights the resilience and varied experiences of childhood, accompanied by one large photo per phrase. Most are sidewalk portraits with concrete backdrops, but readers find a bit of grass every few pages—just like New York. Tiny hipsters in elbow-patched blazers share space with barefooted friends playing in a fire hydrant’s spray. Some readers might be inclined to say the more eclectic fashionistas are only found in New York City, but kids’ ensembles are often distinct and creative, no matter where they live. While the text is largely platitudinous, the photographs are so striking as to make it easy to ignore. A wide range of ethnic groups and smiles broadens the scope even further. 

These humans may be little, but their photos bring large delight. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-374-37456-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A visual feast teeming with life.

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A FLOWER?

A young urbanite romps through floral fields and deep into a flower’s anatomy, exploring humanity’s connection to nature.

A solo car travels away from the dense, gray cityscape. Mountains rise up, full of pattern and light, before revealing a fluorescent field of flowers. A child bursts from the car across the page, neon-rainbow hair streaming in the wind, as both child and place radiate joy and life. The brown-skinned, blue-eyed youngster breathes in the meadow and begins an adventure—part Jamberry, part “Thumbelina,” and part existential journey as the child realizes the life force running through the veins of the flower is the same that runs through all of us, from the water that sustains to the sun that grows. Harris’ colored-pencil illustrations are full of energy and spontaneity. His use of patterning and graphic symbology evoke Oaxacan design, yet the style is all his own. The text is equally enthusiastic: “Have you ever seen / a flower so deep / you had to shout / HELLO / and listen for an echo / just to know / how deep it goes?” The text shifts abruptly from metaphor to metaphor, in one spread the flower likened to a palace and a few pages later, to human anatomy. Nevertheless, like the protagonist and the natural environment, readers will feel themselves stretch and bloom.

A visual feast teeming with life. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4521-8270-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THIS BOOK IS GRAY

A gray character tries to write an all-gray book.

The six primary and secondary colors are building a rainbow, each contributing the hue of their own body, and Gray feels forlorn and left out because rainbows contain no gray. So Gray—who, like the other characters, has a solid, triangular body, a doodle-style face, and stick limbs—sets off alone to create “the GRAYest book ever.” His book inside a book shows a peaceful gray cliff house near a gray sea with gentle whitecaps; his three gray characters—hippo, wolf, kitten—wait for their arc to begin. But then the primaries arrive and call the gray scene “dismal, bleak, and gloomy.” The secondaries show up too, and soon everyone’s overrunning Gray’s creation. When Gray refuses to let White and Black participate, astute readers will note the flaw: White and black (the colors) had already been included in the early all-gray spreads. Ironically, Gray’s book within a book displays calm, passable art while the metabook’s unsubtle illustrations and sloppy design make for cramped and crowded pages that are too busy to hold visual focus. The speech-bubble dialogue’s snappy enough (Blue calls people “dude,” and there are puns). A convoluted moral muddles the core artistic question—whether a whole book can be gray—and instead highlights a trite message about working together.

Low grade. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4340-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more