Readers will hear the “clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop” in every image of this astonishing book.

TONY

Poet Galing (1917-2013) leads Tony, a dairy delivery horse, through the veil of memory, encantatory phrasing—circling and repetitious—calling him plodding from pre-dawn into the present, his sturdy flank barely expanding with the effort.

“Tony // that was his name // he was such a / wonderful horse // and pulled a milk / truck / for Tom, the young / driver // Tom Jones, / in the early hours of the / morning, // pulling the wagon loaded / with milk, butter, / and eggs….” Stead’s astonishing pencil illustrations, simultaneously granular and silkily suggestive, deliver corporeal portraits of Tony’s musculature, his lashes, cocked ear, subdued sentience, and pathos. Her foggy, blotted green-and-gold palette (achieved through monoprinting) suggests not only nocturnal darkness and lamplight, but also the patina of coppered time. Gauzy line drawings and matte colors surface in ample creamy, blank space, just as memories float up out of the subconscious. At once moody and poignant, murky and clear, intensely personal and vague, atmospheric and studiously specific, the pictures and language cohere magically to remind readers how memories often shimmer and shape-shift. Young readers will simply marvel at the poem’s lulling, looping cadence and at the pictures’ extraordinary empathy and likeness—fitting enough for a story about a horse, his driver, eggs, milk, butter, and a man’s pure, simple appreciation.

Readers will hear the “clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop” in every image of this astonishing book. (Picture book. 2-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-308-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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Fans of the series will be delighted.

CLASH

From the Click series , Vol. 4

Can Olive stay positive when a social-climbing bully moves to town?

In her fourth adventure, sixth grader Olive Branche is on top of the world until new girl Natasha begins to encroach on her friendships, slowly and methodically freezing her out of her many different social circles. Relentlessly optimistic Olive tries to stay genial despite Nat’s overt jibes, but when Nat takes it to a new level and ruins Olive’s carefully planned Halloween party, Olive finally confronts her. When Nat finds herself consequently ostracized, empathetic Olive has a change of heart and extends her an olive branch (groan). Olive and Nat’s relationship is highly idealized, bordering almost on wish fulfillment; Nat’s backstory offers some explanation for her behavior, but she is accepted back into the fold more easily than may seem realistic. Olive’s appeal is in her unceasing Pollyanna-like sunniness and her ability to be accommodating and find the best in every situation. Though consistent in tone with its predecessors, in this entry Olive does have some moments of anger (albeit quickly reconciled); her portrayal here is the most human she’s been throughout the series. Although this is the fourth installment, each volume is mostly self-contained, making this equally accessible for established and new readers. Olive and Nat read as White; the supporting cast is inclusive and diverse.

Fans of the series will be delighted. (Halloween costume craft ideas, author Q&A) (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-24220-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Etch/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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