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A FEW BLOCKS by Cybèle  Young Kirkus Star


by Cybèle Young & illustrated by Cybèle Young

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-88899-995-5
Publisher: Groundwood

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.


(Picture book. 4-8)