Another playful imagination-stretcher from the author of Look! and Tickle Monster (both 2015). (Picture book. 6-8)

ONCE UPON A RAINY DAY

A ravening wolf, several potential victims, a wild chase, an ambush, and a spectacular reversal of fortune make for an exciting tale—even when all the characters stay home due to bad weather.

At once metafictive and interactive, the plotline is presented as a recurring story that runs its preordained course whenever its “keeper,” Mr. Warbler, steps out of his cottage to set the Big Bad Wolf to chasing a “delectable” pig, a clever hare, and a flying squirrel with a hot air balloon into the house of a former circus bear. This last blasts the predator out through a giant trumpet and so sends him away limping and muttering. That’s how the story goes on sunny days, at least. But today it happens to be raining—so though the narrative provides a blow-by-blow account of narrow escapes and lickety-split action, none of the cast, from keeper on, ever actually appears in Manceau’s deserted scenes of blocky, buttoned-up houses and geometrically tidy woodlands. No matter: with or without drawing materials, young readers will have little trouble conjuring up suitably colorful figures and dramatic tableaux of their own to superimpose on the backdrops. When, finally, the sun comes out, the narrator’s closing assurance that the story can now “start for real…” ends the exercise on a droll note.

Another playful imagination-stretcher from the author of Look! and Tickle Monster (both 2015). (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-77147-151-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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Too thin to fly as either tour or tribute but a memorable showcase nonetheless for a talented French paper artist.

MARY POPPINS UP, UP AND AWAY

From the Up, Up and Away series

Silhouettes, both printed and laser-cut, add sparkle to a quick tour of London sites and starry skies conducted by Mary Poppins.

Michael and Jane are thrilled when their nanny (literally) drops in on the end of a kite string, and spit-spot they’re off to see Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Piccadilly—followed by an undersea visit and a flight through comet-filled skies to a circus of constellations. As the text, translated without credit from the original French, is confined to a few wooden couplets along the lines of “On Cherry Tree Lane, it’s a nice day to dream… / To walk in the park or to eat an ice cream,” the stars of the show are Druvert’s illustrations. The black, cut pages are designed to be flipped back and forth to fill in printed cityscapes, marine scenes, and speckled firmaments with fine detail. The marvelous intricacy of the cutout fences, ironwork, trees, strands of seaweed, and small human figures leaves those pages too fragile to survive even moderately careless handling intact, but the intensely black overlay (along with a subtle use of gray tones in the backgrounds) creates a sense of depth and, often, an evocative shimmer of light. A large die-cut window in the front cover offers a hint of the visual pleasures within.

Too thin to fly as either tour or tribute but a memorable showcase nonetheless for a talented French paper artist. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-500-65104-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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