This quirky, sidelong look at a common childhood experience will be just the thing for readers and listeners who enjoy a...

ROSE AND THE WISH THING

A lonely young girl makes a wish that eventually comes true in both magical and pragmatic ways.

Rose is a shaggy-haired, scratchily drawn preschool-sized white girl whose family has recently moved. Alone in her room she makes a wish, “but the wish thing did not come.” The facing page, however, shows an indeterminate furry creature with long ears and a sizable schnoz setting out in a rolling box. Rose’s family’s efforts to help her feel at home appear mostly in vignettes. Occasional double-page spreads track the progress of the cardboard box as it zooms over snowy mountains and sails through stormy seas. The two paths finally cross, and Rose takes her first, tentative steps toward settling in. Magerl’s succinct (and occasionally cryptic) text complements her pen-and-ink–and-watercolor illustrations. Together, words and pictures effectively evoke Rose’s lonely state and her family’s befuddlement and caring. The artwork, while decidedly original, brings to mind Ed Koren’s cartoons, with a touch of Edward Gorey’s charming grotesquerie. Odd animals and oddly lifelike dolls and stuffed toys add to the offbeat atmosphere.

This quirky, sidelong look at a common childhood experience will be just the thing for readers and listeners who enjoy a touch of whimsy and mystery (and who won’t mind not finding out what the wish thing actually is—or exactly what happens next). (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-53617-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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THE POUT-POUT FISH IN THE BIG-BIG DARK

Mr. Fish heroically offers to find Ms. Clam’s lost pearl, and as he ventures forth, gentle suspense ensues when he finds himself heading for deeper and darker waters. Young readers will enjoy the energetic and detailed cartoon-like illustrations of this friendly-yet-mysterious underwater world (the scenes deep in the ocean trench are particularly effective), while the rollicking, rhythmic text will have readers diving in with Mr. Fish as he repeatedly admits, “I’m FAST as a sailfish, I’m STRONG as a shark, I’m SMART as dolphin…But I’m scared of the dark.” Fans of The Pout-Pout Fish (2008) will find just as much to love here, and any youngster who has been afraid of the dark will identify with Mr. Fish’s struggle. Luckily, our hero has dedicated friends who help him deal with his anxiety, continue on his quest and keep his promise to Ms. Clam. The final notes of friendship and bravery will resonate with young readers. An entertaining read-aloud and a nice lighthearted vehicle for dealing with fear. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-374-30798-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2010

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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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