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THE STORM RIDERS

A creative, if wordy, tale about mindfulness focused on personal triumph and well-being.

In this picture book, a young girl sails stormy seas in a metaphorical search for mindfulness.

Blond, pigtailed Lilibet is a White superhero who has not yet discovered her powers—which she hopes to find on a journey with friends Capt. Hippo and Benjamin the rabbit. Watercolors emphasize a rainbow-bright fantasy atmosphere, and Nasi’s compositions of waves and light create visual interest. First stop: Pon-Kan Kan Island. Lilibet intends to extract a superpower from the place but finds only glowing mushrooms. Stops at a series of islands where Lilibet continues to seek superpowers follow. “Stop hiding! And please…be REALLY SPARKLY and REALLY BIG!” Lilibet shouts to her imagined power. When Capt. Hippo points out the sun, sparkling like a fantasy power, she appreciates the sight: “Lilibet was mindful at last!” But when the sun disappears, she panics, and her anger summons a storm that endangers her ship. Capt. Hippo tells her: “You cannot stop the waves of Anger, Sadness, Joy or even Hunger, but you can decide what to do with them.” When Lilibet learns to take a deep breath and count to five, she discovers she’s a superhero, with choices to make about her anger. Stuker’s whimsical (if long-winded) story and Nasi’s bright illustrations will draw readers in to a consideration of emotional regulation as a superpower, though the impact of Lilibet’s actions on others is not examined. Capt. Hippo and Benjamin exist only to further her journey and hold no grudges.

A creative, if wordy, tale about mindfulness focused on personal triumph and well-being.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 9788269306637

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Through Mindful Lens

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

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HOME

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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I WISH YOU MORE

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.

A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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