Verbose, but validating nonetheless.

WINGS

THE JOURNEY HOME

A young eagle struggles to remember who he is in this tale written by husband-and-wife team William and Elizabeth Hicks.

Benjamin is one of three eaglet siblings who are attempting to ace their first flying lesson. When a strong wind blows him off course and knocks him against a cliff, he sustains injuries to his head and wing. Disoriented, he lands in a haystack on a farm where he meets a family of chickens and befriends Jeremy, the barnyard's smallest rooster. Benjamin, now suffering from avian amnesia, has no recollection of who he is or where he came from, and despite his strange appearance, he and the other farm animals (à la “The Ugly Duckling”) assume he's simply an odd-looking chicken. Ben spends his time playing acornball with Jeremy and the other animals but yearns for something greater and experiences recurrent primal urges to fly. Soon Ben's increasingly radical behavior begins to ruffle the feathers of Jeremy's father Humphrey, who fears he will corrupt and endanger his son. Meanwhile, the barnyard contends with the ongoing threat of the “Egg-stealer,” a mysterious, terrifying creature who slinks into the barn at night to steal eggs that the hens have intentionally left, hoping to appease it and prevent further carnage. Ben is determined to end the reign of the Egg-stealer and prove his worth to the community. Ben meets other creatures—a caterpillar, a dove, a hummingbird—who impart bits of wisdom that he doesn't fully understand but nevertheless confirm his suspicion that life holds greater purpose. The story may appeal to some adults, but because of its limited vocabulary, lack of complex conflicts and edification of basic axioms (such as learning to appreciate oneself and viewing one's weaknesses as strengths), it’s best suited for children. Unfortunately, the number of descriptive passages—the book’s strong point—is far surpassed by the amount of dialogue, which is sometimes trite and often goes on too long, slowing down the story. Children, however, will still root for Ben, whose greatest moment of triumph comes from believing in himself.

Verbose, but validating nonetheless.

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-615-42071-4

Page Count: 130

Publisher: Inner Realm Enterprises

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

HOME

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. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more