A bit awkward to follow considering its length and orientation but truly a grand tour

MEGALOPOLIS

AND THE VISITOR FROM OUTER SPACE

An extraplanetary visitor’s city visit literally unfolds in this unusually formatted panorama.

Presented on a 12-foot-long vertical strip that has been rolled up and pressed flat, the itinerary moves down from high towers at the beginning though zigzag streets and winding canals and eventually into deep subterranean reaches. Each successive flip adds both a block of descriptive narrative and new streets and sights for the intergalactic tourist and for kneeling viewers (a hallway or large room will be required to see this in its entirety) to discover simultaneously. Along with lots of amusing details and side activity, there’s also a seek-and-find element, as the green extraterrestrial, recurring in each segment, is just one tiny figure among many. So warm are the welcoming rounds of parades and other festivities from the city’s residents—all of whom are notably diverse in skin color and dress—that the ET asks to stay on. Drama and romance ensue as the new immigrant is temporarily “overpowered by a praline” but then meets and marries a mermaid. So off the two honeymooners course, past a smiling monster at the city’s lowest point and beyond the bottom corner. Dieudonné’s scenes are festooned with tiny, active figures (including interracial and possibly same-sex couples as well as some instances of ethnic stereotypes). Still, they don’t look overcrowded, and despite flattened, sometimes skewed perspectives, the seamless transitions add to her composition’s overall visual unity.

A bit awkward to follow considering its length and orientation but truly a grand tour . (Novelty. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-500-65069-1

Page Count: 38

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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