THE CARPENTER by Bruna Barros
Kirkus Star


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 6
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Creativity abounds in this wordless tale of an overalls-clad adult and similarly dressed child spending time together in a wood shop.

This black duo, both clad in orange overalls, operates separately in the opening pages. The child’s attention is on a digital device; the adult, on the opposite side of the gutter, is drawing plans for a boat. When the folding measuring stick stretches across the divide and displays a tongue (as if it were talking), the child becomes fully present. The child studies the instrument before turning it into a house, car, elephant, and finally a whale that spouts water. Barros, a Brazilian artist, employs a limited palette; her bold images contrast pleasingly with expansive white backgrounds; there is a generous use of space in the small trim size (8.25 by 5.5 inches) that keeps the focus on the characters and what they are constructing. The warm grain of the wooden boat and the individual, textured droplets of blue water add more interest. As the water—and faux tension—rises, the adult is pulled into the spirit of play, paddling over to rescue the child, who creates a sail with the yardstick. An introductory message from the author states: “This book has no words, yet it has limitless stories to tell….”

A joyful invitation to participate in invention. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 7th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-4236-4676-1
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Gibbs Smith
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2016


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