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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Newbery Medal Winner

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

YOU MATTER

Employing a cast of diverse children reminiscent of that depicted in Another (2019), Robinson shows that every living entity has value.

After opening endpapers that depict an aerial view of a busy playground, the perspective shifts to a black child, ponytails tied with beaded elastics, peering into a microscope. So begins an exercise in perspective. From those bits of green life under the lens readers move to “Those who swim with the tide / and those who don’t.” They observe a “pest”—a mosquito biting a dinosaur, a “really gassy” planet, and a dog whose walker—a child in a pink hijab—has lost hold of the leash. Periodically, the examples are validated with the titular refrain. Textured paint strokes and collage elements contrast with uncluttered backgrounds that move from white to black to white. The black pages in the middle portion foreground scenes in space, including a black astronaut viewing Earth; the astronaut is holding an image of another black youngster who appears on the next spread flying a toy rocket and looking lonely. There are many such visual connections, creating emotional interest and invitations for conversation. The story’s conclusion spins full circle, repeating opening sentences with new scenarios. From the microscopic to the cosmic, word and image illuminate the message without a whiff of didacticism.

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2169-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more