A FEW BLOCKS

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life.

¡VAMOS! LET'S GO TO THE MARKET

From the ¡Vamos! series

Little Lobo and his dog, Bernabé, journey through a Mexican mercado delivering diverse goods to a variety of booths.

With the aid of red words splattered throughout the spreads as labels, Raúl the Third gives an introduction to Spanish vocabulary as Little Lobo, an anthropomorphic wolf, leaves his house, fills his cart with objects from his warehouse, and delivers them to the market’s vendors. The journey also serves as a crash course in Mexican culture, as the images are packed with intertextual details such as food, traditional games, and characters, including Cantinflas, Frida Khalo, and Juan Gabriel. Readers acquainted with Raúl the Third’s characters from his Lowriders series with author Cathy Camper will appreciate cameos from familiar characters. As he makes his rounds, Little Lobo also collects different artifacts that people offer in exchange for his deliveries of shoe polish, clothespins, wood, tissue paper, paintbrushes, and a pair of golden laces. Although Raúl the Third departs from the ball-pen illustrations that he is known for, his depiction of creatures and critters peppering the borderland where his stories are set remains in his trademark style. The softer hues in the illustrations (chosen by colorist Bay) keep the busy compositions friendly, and the halftone patterns filling the illustrations create foregrounds and backgrounds reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein’s pointillism.

A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-55726-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more