Amazing.

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Young’s latest attempts to be many things—a foray into a child’s imagination, a touching tale of siblings and a stage for the author’s elaborate paper sculptures—and it succeeds masterfully in doing all three.

Viola must somehow get her reluctant younger brother Ferdie to walk to school. In the opening black-and-white pages, the creative older sister uses the props around her to spin an adventure for Ferdie. His coat and boots suddenly become a cape and rocket blasters as the two set off into a suddenly full-color scene filled with shapes. When that adventure peters out, Viola again draws on her imagination to get him that much closer to school. The two ride in a ship, discover pirate treasure and conquer a dragon. And when Viola’s font of ideas runs dry, Ferdie takes over. Young’s paper sculptures are a visual feast, drawing the eye around the page and revealing new things with each look. Using painted paper scenes of the city that are cut into shapes of familiar objects, Young constructs new scenes based on the children’s imaginings: Railings and staircases are cut into wave shapes, street signs are transformed into flying fish and the buildings become a giant squid. A basic color palette keeps these busy spreads from overwhelming and also contrasts nicely with the simple, colorless spreads that depict the children’s reality. David Wiesner fans should give this a try.

Amazing. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-88899-995-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2011

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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A validating and breathtaking next chapter of a Mother Goose favorite.

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AFTER THE FALL (HOW HUMPTY DUMPTY GOT BACK UP AGAIN)

Humpty Dumpty, classically portrayed as an egg, recounts what happened after he fell off the wall in Santat’s latest.

An avid ornithophile, Humpty had loved being atop a high wall to be close to the birds, but after his fall and reassembly by the king’s men, high places—even his lofted bed—become intolerable. As he puts it, “There were some parts that couldn’t be healed with bandages and glue.” Although fear bars Humpty from many of his passions, it is the birds he misses the most, and he painstakingly builds (after several papercut-punctuated attempts) a beautiful paper plane to fly among them. But when the plane lands on the very wall Humpty has so doggedly been avoiding, he faces the choice of continuing to follow his fear or to break free of it, which he does, going from cracked egg to powerful flight in a sequence of stunning spreads. Santat applies his considerable talent for intertwining visual and textual, whimsy and gravity to his consideration of trauma and the oft-overlooked importance of self-determined recovery. While this newest addition to Santat’s successes will inevitably (and deservedly) be lauded, younger readers may not notice the de-emphasis of an equally important part of recovery: that it is not compulsory—it is OK not to be OK.

A validating and breathtaking next chapter of a Mother Goose favorite. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-682-6

Page Count: 45

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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