A very fine working of story, information, art and culture.

Published first in French in 2011, Perrin’s elegant construction looks at children and young people around the globe eastward from the Greenwich meridian.

At 6 a.m. in Dakar, Senegal, Keita is helping his father with his catch of fish. “At the same moment,” goes the refrain, it is 7 a.m. in Paris, and Benedict is drinking his hot chocolate before school. The moment unfolds with Yasmine in Baghdad, Lilu in the Himalyas, Chen in Shanghai, Allen and Kiana in Honolulu, and so on. The children range in age from newborn, like Diego in Lima, Peru, who is born there at 1 a.m., to teenagers, like Sharon and Peter kissing goodbye in San Francisco at 10 p.m. The pictures, in pencil and digital color, fill the tall oblong shape of the book dramatically. Details are telling: A little red-beaked bird appears on most of the pages; the Frenchman striding along with his briefcase is smoking a cigarette; in Dubai, Nadia is watching yet another huge building go up; Pablo’s dreams in Mexico City take shape with Aztec symbols. A lovely foldout world map places and names all these children. A brief but excellent description of time zones and timekeeping closes the volume. Who knew that India and China both have only one time zone across their huge expanses?  

A very fine working of story, information, art and culture. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2208-3

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014


Appealing for entertainers and those who would rather just listen.

What is the point of reading a book aloud?

Greenfield and Lowery’s latest work of metafiction—after I Don’t Want To Read This Book (2021) and This Book Is Not a Present (2022)—features an agitated unseen narrator objecting to the idea of reading a book aloud: “It’s dopey words like aloud that make me want to remain asilent.” The rambling and occasionally digressive complaint provides an excellent canvas for Lowery’s energetic, hand-drawn typography and whimsical, charmingly silly drawings. Nearly every word is in capitals and gets its own color, size, or blocky 3-D rendering, resulting in a set of stage directions for a reader’s voice, graphically indicating pacing and emphasis. The detours from the cranky harangue are amusing. The narrator literally addresses “the elephant in the room”—“Hello, Elephant!”—and a few pages later focuses on the possibility that a word like aplomb could show up. The elephant offers a helpful definition of aplomb with, well, aplomb. Concerns about the pitfalls of performance are at the heart of this monologue. At one point the narrator’s worries (“I mean, what if I lose my place?...What am I supposed to do then? START OVER?”) are itemized on the verso and repeated on the recto. The audience will possibly find this hilarious. The sly paradox, of course, is that the reading aloud of this metatextual discourse contradicts the narrator’s avowed aversion to doing so and does it with panache. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Appealing for entertainers and those who would rather just listen. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2023

ISBN: 9780593616581

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2023


Quietly contemplative and thoroughly lovely.

A child finds adventure and a change of perspective on a dreary day.

Clouds cover everything in a palette of unending gray, creating a sense of ennui and gloom. A child stands alone, head down, feeling as gray as the day, and decides to ride through town on an old bike. Pops of color throughout the grayscale illustrations go unnoticed—there are yellow leaves scattered about, and the parking lot is filled with bright yellow buses, but this child, who has skin the grayish white of the page, sees only the empty playground, creaky swings, a sad merry-go-round, and lonely seesaws. But look—there’s a narrow winding path just beyond the fence, something to explore. There are things to be noticed, leaves to be crunched, and discoveries to be made. Imagination takes over, along with senses of wonderment and calm, as the child watches a large blue bird fly over the area. The ride home is quite different, joyful and filled with color previously ignored, reaffirming the change in the rider’s outlook. The descriptive, spare text filled with imagery and onomatopoeia is well aligned with well-rendered art highlighting all the colors that brighten the not-so-gray day and allowing readers to see what the protagonist struggles to understand, that “anything can happen…on a gray day.” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Quietly contemplative and thoroughly lovely. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781797210896

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023

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