Conceptually intriguing but insufficiently visually connected to Cornell’s aesthetic.

READ REVIEW

THE AMAZING COLLECTION OF JOEY CORNELL

BASED ON THE CHILDHOOD OF A GREAT AMERICAN ARTIST

A boy amasses a collection of assorted objects and uses them to make art.

As a child, Joey has keen, eclectic preferences for his collection of items. A cork ball, a soap-bubble pipe, a rusty iron safe, a feather that falls fresh off a bird—Joey saves everything “that spark[s] his imagination or delight[s] his eye.” Asked what his plans for his oddments are, he’s unbothered: “Who knows?” After a while, he knows: “sifting, layering, mixing” the objects creates sculpture. His family finds his pieces “heavenly” and “magical”—and so do many other people after Joey grows up to become a professional artist using the same media, though the adult career and work of Joseph Cornell are oddly unmentioned except in the author’s note. Fleming does a bang-up job explaining Joey’s imaginative combination of objects to evoke emotion. DuBois’ acrylic illustrations are a mixed bag: magnificent composition, and the value extremes on a few spreads are dramatically gorgeous; however, figures are stiff, more like frozen white mannequins than humans—Joey often looks like a doll—and Joey’s sculptures appear quaint but murky and nondeliberate (the opposite of Cornell’s real pieces). Three reproductions of Cornell’s work are fruitlessly tiny. Alison Baverstock’s Joseph Cornell: Secrets in Box (2003), now sadly out-of-print, is the superior treatment.

Conceptually intriguing but insufficiently visually connected to Cornell’s aesthetic. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-55238-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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This ambitious introduction to an important concept tries too hard to pigeonhole people, places, and things

NOUNS SAY "WHAT'S THAT?"

From the Word Adventures: Parts of Speech series

Anthropomorphized representations of a person, a place, and a thing introduce readers to nouns.

The protagonists are Person, a green, hairy, Cousin Itt–looking blob; Place, a round, blue, globe-ish being (stereotypically implied female by eyelashes and round pigtails); and Thing, a pink cloud with limbs, a porkpie hat, and red glasses. They first introduce the word “noun” and then start pointing out the nouns that fall under each of their categories. In their speech balloons, these vocabulary words are set in type that corresponds to the speaker’s color: “Each wheel is a thing noun,” says Thing, and “wheel” is set in red. Readers join the three as they visit a museum, pointing out the nouns they see along the way and introducing proper and collective nouns and ways to make nouns plural. Confusingly, though, Person labels the “bus driver” a “person noun” on one page, but two spreads later, Thing says “Abdar is a guard. Mrs. Mooney is a ticket taker. Their jobs are things that are also nouns.” Similarly, a group of athletes is a person noun—“team”—but “flock” and “pack” are things. Lowen’s digital illustrations portray a huge variety of people who display many skin and hair colors, differing abilities, and even religious and/or cultural markers (though no one is overweight). Backmatter includes a summary of noun facts, a glossary, an index (not seen), critical-thinking questions, and a list of further reading. Books on seven other parts of speech release simultaneously.

This ambitious introduction to an important concept tries too hard to pigeonhole people, places, and things . (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5158-4058-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Picture Window Books

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Prospective younger visitors can do better than this bland mush.

MY FIRST BOOK OF NEW YORK

A scan of landmarks, neighborhoods, food, and other attractions in the Big Apple.

Perfunctory efforts to give this tour at least a pretense of geographic or thematic unity only add to its higgledy-piggledy character. Arrhenius (City, 2018, etc.) opens with a full-page view of the Brooklyn Bridge soaring over an otherwise-unidentifiable cityscape opposite a jumble of eight smaller images that are, for all that one is labeled “Brooklyn Academy of Music” and another “Coney Island,” are likewise so stylized as to look generic. From there, in the same one-topic-per-spread format, it’s on to Manhattan uptown and down for “Rockefeller Center,” “Shopping,” and other random bites. The “Harlem” spread features a fire hydrant, a mailbox, and the (actually distant) Cloisters museum, for instance, and a glance into “Queens” offers glimpses of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, a “Greek restaurant,” a “Mexican restaurant,” and “marathon runners.” The large trim size and aesthetic mimic M. Sasek’s perennial This Is New York (1960, revised edition 2003) while adding much-needed updates with both more diverse arrays of dress and skin hues for the stylized human figures as well as the addition of sites such as the Stonewall Inn, the 9/11 memorial, and the Fearless Girl statue.

Prospective younger visitors can do better than this bland mush. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0990-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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