An absorbing, multifaceted visit to the city.

READ REVIEW

IN THE CITY

A day in the life of a metropolis.

“The city wakes up slowly” as the sun rises, but soon “the hustle and bustle” bring on multiple sights and chances to explore. Spreads focus on different-sized buildings, various modes of transportation, noisy versus quiet spaces, different jobs, entertainment opportunities, and green nature spaces. The final pages depict the city’s nightlife, with some people awake while others sleep, before the narrative comes full circle as the city wakes to a new day. The tour comes with invitations for reader participation (“What a lot of sounds! Which one do you think is the loudest?”) and a hearty dose of consumerism: Several pages show malls, boutiques, and produce markets. In a decidedly modern, abstract style à la Piet Mondrian, Lipniewska composes her cityscape and its inhabitants from many interlocking and overlapping geometric shapes in primary colors against stark white or gray backgrounds. She signals different races and ethnicities by variations in hair, clothes, head shapes, and skin tones (white, gray, blue, peach, green). The author encourages harmonious thinking by depicting crowds of visually heterogeneous people coexisting in the same place, such as enjoying the wares of a food truck: “The people are all very different / but they often like the same things.” There is much to visually revisit and discover anew on rereads.

An absorbing, multifaceted visit to the city. (Picture book. 2-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-7870-8031-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Button Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Adults wishing to expand the worldviews of their young charges beyond Eurocentric interpretations will find plenty of visual...

RAPUNZEL

From the Once Upon a World series

A retelling of the classic fairy tale with India as its setting.

This latest addition to the Once Upon A World series tells the well-known story of the maiden with beautiful long tresses locked away in a tower by an evil witch and the prince who falls in love with her. As with Perkins’ Cinderella (illustrated by Sandra Equihua, 2016) and Snow White (illustrated by Misa Saburi, 2016), the text has been simplified for a younger audience, and the distinguishing twist here is its setting in India. The mixed-media illustrations of plants, animals, village life, and, of course, Rapunzel, the witch, and the prince come alive in warm, saturated colors. Other than the visuals, there is little to differentiate the story from traditional tellings. As always, it is still the prince who will eventually lead Rapunzel to her salvation by taking her to his kingdom far away from the witch, but that is the nature of fairy tales. The only quibble with this book and indeed with this series is the board-book format. Given the fact that the audience most likely to enjoy it is beyond the board-book age, a full-size book would have done more justice to the vibrant artwork.

Adults wishing to expand the worldviews of their young charges beyond Eurocentric interpretations will find plenty of visual delights in this one, though they’ll wish it were bigger. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9072-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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This ambitious introduction to an important concept tries too hard to pigeonhole people, places, and things

NOUNS SAY "WHAT'S THAT?"

From the Word Adventures: Parts of Speech series

Anthropomorphized representations of a person, a place, and a thing introduce readers to nouns.

The protagonists are Person, a green, hairy, Cousin Itt–looking blob; Place, a round, blue, globe-ish being (stereotypically implied female by eyelashes and round pigtails); and Thing, a pink cloud with limbs, a porkpie hat, and red glasses. They first introduce the word “noun” and then start pointing out the nouns that fall under each of their categories. In their speech balloons, these vocabulary words are set in type that corresponds to the speaker’s color: “Each wheel is a thing noun,” says Thing, and “wheel” is set in red. Readers join the three as they visit a museum, pointing out the nouns they see along the way and introducing proper and collective nouns and ways to make nouns plural. Confusingly, though, Person labels the “bus driver” a “person noun” on one page, but two spreads later, Thing says “Abdar is a guard. Mrs. Mooney is a ticket taker. Their jobs are things that are also nouns.” Similarly, a group of athletes is a person noun—“team”—but “flock” and “pack” are things. Lowen’s digital illustrations portray a huge variety of people who display many skin and hair colors, differing abilities, and even religious and/or cultural markers (though no one is overweight). Backmatter includes a summary of noun facts, a glossary, an index (not seen), critical-thinking questions, and a list of further reading. Books on seven other parts of speech release simultaneously.

This ambitious introduction to an important concept tries too hard to pigeonhole people, places, and things . (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5158-4058-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Picture Window Books

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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