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A brilliantly illustrated account of an arduous—yet deeply rewarding—journey.

A long walk to school.

A brown-skinned child walks 9 kilometers—more than 5 miles—every day to go to school through challenging and uncharted paths in Chile. The child leaves home when it’s still dark, passing beneath wire fences, walking by wooded areas that conceal wild felines, and even traversing rivers. Although the narrator’s difficulties are many, they maintain a positive attitude and are grateful that they and their classmates can attend school, regardless of how they get there. The child’s teacher once said that it takes 1,600 steps to walk a kilometer; 9 kilometers would be 15,000 steps. The child wonders if that’s right, considering their shortcuts and leaps as well as the fact that their legs are short. Both matter-of-fact and full of musings, this Chilean import, translated from Spanish, perfectly captures a child’s experience. The painterly art relies on hues that are by turns somber and more vibrant and on many aerial shots, which make the native Chilean birds part of the story, like spectators awaiting the narrator’s arrival at school. The meticulous attention to detail in the illustrations—for instance, in the portrayal of animals—makes for an immersive experience. Backmatter describes the stories of other children around the world who walk similar paths and identifies the birds found in the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A brilliantly illustrated account of an arduous—yet deeply rewarding—journey. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5600-5

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2022

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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