Overall, this misses the mark and won’t wing its way to success.

A rhymed text explores the imaginary places where a book can transport a reader.

“It has pages and pictures, / a cover, it’s true, / even words and a writer— / and readers like you. / It can do anything / that you want it to do. / But this is not a book. // Because books do not have wings.” All kinds of magical things can be found in the pages of this not-a-book. Readers whirl up a complicated agglomeration of gears into the clouds to clockwork cities and a pirate ship, as the text continues his protestations that it is not a book. Text notwithstanding, it’s the artwork that evokes the imagination and captures the eye as two children, one dark-skinned with short, black, curly hair and the other fair-skinned with long, blond hair, experience various adventures. The illustrations blend the quirkiness of Henrik Drescher with the detailing of Graeme Base in vivid colors and intriguing images. The rhymes tend to get in the way of the images they are describing, however. “This, here, is a submarine, / a never-look-back, pretend-it machine, / to explore the depths / of the vast marine / with urchins, seaweed, / and schools of sardines. / Come closer, dear reader, / and see the unseen— / this thing that’s not a book.” The repetition of the title phrase feels both precious and monotonous, muddying the conceit—which stands a very good chance of actually confusing readers.

Overall, this misses the mark and won’t wing its way to success. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-58536-964-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016


Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012


            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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