Wonderfully imaginative and intriguing.

READ REVIEW

I GOT IT!

A weedy kid in shorts and a T-shirt goes to the sandlot with a glove, hoping to play.

Sent to the outfield, the kid waits for a chance. The batter hits a long fly ball that sails that way. The protagonist runs, leaps, and stretches, yelling, “I got it!”—the only words in the book. But the kid trips over some roots, dives, and lands on the ground with the ball just out of reach, while team members cluster around, clutching their heads in disbelief. Wiesner is a master of fantastical wordless (or nearly so) adventures, and what seems to be a simple event becomes a series of might-have-beens and possibilities, playing out several times with different scenarios. A huge tree with protruding roots appears and stops the kid from getting to the ball; several teammates give chase, gloves outstretched, as the protagonist seems to be among them and then flying over them to finally grab the elusive ball: “I GOT IT!” This time it is the batter who’s thrown into despair, while the protagonist’s team cheers. And what about the birds? Are they just observers or are they somehow affecting the outcome? Sometimes the protagonist is small and the glove and ball are huge as perspective shifts. The scenes are softly painted, growing brighter and sharper after the catch. Readers will interpret it any way they wish, perhaps differently with each perusal. The protagonist has light olive skin and straight black hair, and the other players are racially and gender diverse.

Wonderfully imaginative and intriguing. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-30902-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Cool beans indeed.

THE COOL BEAN

A supposed “has-bean” shows that coolness has more to do with deeds than demeanor.

Offering further moral instruction in this leguminous cousin to The Bad Seed (2017) and The Good Egg (2019), Oswald portrays three beans—each a different species but all sporting boss shades, fly threads, and that requisite air of nonchalance—bringing the cool to streets, hallways, playgrounds, and Leguma Beach. Meanwhile, a fourth (a scraggly-haired chickpea), whose efforts to echo the look and the ’tude have fallen flat, takes on the role of nerdy narrator to recall “olden days” when they all hung out in the same pod. Still, despite rolling separate ways (nobody’s fault: “That’s just how it is sometimes. You spend less time together, even though you’re not totally sure why”), when the uncool bean drops a lunch tray, skins a kid knee on the playground, or just needs a hint in class, one of the others is always on the scene toot suite. No biggie. And passing those casual acts of kindness forward? “Now that’s cool.” John’s good-hearted text makes some hay with the bean puns while Oswald’s pipe-stemmed limbs, googly eyes, and accessories give these anthropomorphic legumes lots of personality. As a fava to young audiences, pair with Jamie Michalak and Frank Kolar’s Frank and Bean (2019) for a musical combination.

Cool beans indeed. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-295452-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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