Playful and more than just a little mysterious—like a shadow-puppet play in full color.

SHADOW CHASERS

Intriguing illustrations draw readers into a meditation on shadows.

The text employs direct address, encouraging readers to imagine chasing shadows: “If you follow them, / and try to catch them, / they will flit and flutter away.” A trio of Caucasian children plays at dusk chasing shadows through a sunset-hued forest. The simple text employs rhythmic, sometimes-rhyming language that, like the book’s subject, never settles down and allows itself to be caught. The illustrations themselves have the look of dioramas, the cut-paper figures of the children, birds and animals set into the scenes so that they cast shadows. Whether they are photographed dioramas, entirely digital compositions or a combination of the two is hard to say, but the slightly surreal combination of two- and three-dimensionality will have children examining the pages closely. At one point, the two girls, running, cast the shadow of a deer; in another picture, an artfully arranged cluster of mushrooms casts the shadow of a squirrel. The three children have a 1950s aesthetic; their wide eyes, snub noses and tiny mouths would be at home in advertising or storybooks of the era, particularly the little sister with pigtails and pedal pushers.

Playful and more than just a little mysterious—like a shadow-puppet play in full color. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7624-4720-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An engaging story arguing for the marriage of technology with creativity and play.

DOLL-E 1.0

A young girl receives a puzzling gift.

Young Charlotte has always been the most tech-savvy member of her family, helping her mother with a tablet and her father with the smart TV. After Charlotte’s parents observe a news report cautioning against letting kids get “too techy,” the couple presents Charlotte with a doll. The doll doesn’t move or think—it simply sits and utters the word “Ma-ma.” Charlotte reasons that for a doll to talk it must have a power supply, and with a few modifications and a little imagination, Charlotte’s doll becomes Doll-E 1.0. The STEM-friendly narrative is brought to life with charming pencil-and-watercolor illustrations, edited in Photoshop. The scratchy lines are reminiscent of the pictures children like Charlotte sketch at their drawing boards, and the dynamic compositions burst with energy. Charlotte is an engaging character, expressive and thoughtful in equal measure. Charlotte’s doll is adorably rendered, looking mostly like any other common doll but just unique enough that little ones may want one of their own. Charlotte and her family present white; little dog Bluetooth is a scruffy, white terrier.

An engaging story arguing for the marriage of technology with creativity and play. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-51031-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

For readers who haven’t a musk ox of their own to snuggle up with, this tale proves just as cozy.

COZY

An agreeable Alaskan musk ox embodies that old Ben Franklin adage, “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.”

When Cozy the ox is separated from his herd in the midst of a winter storm, he decides to wait it out. His massive size and warmth attract small animals—a lemming family and a snowshoe hare—desperate to escape the cold. However, as bigger, predatory creatures arrive, Cozy must lay down some “house rules” that grow with each new creature that arrives until they extend to: “Quiet voices, gentle thumping, claws to yourself, no biting, no pouncing, and be mindful of others!” Over time, the guests grow antsy, but at last spring arrives and Cozy can find his family. The tale is not dissimilar to another Jan Brett tale of cold weather and animals squeezing into a small space (The Mitten, 1989). Meticulous watercolors refrain from anthropomorphizing, rendering everyone, from massive Cozy to the tiniest of lemmings, in exquisite detail. This moving tale of gentle kindness serves as a clarion call for anyone searching for a book about creating your own community in times of trial. Brett even includes little details about real musk oxen in the text (such as their tendency to form protective circles to surround their vulnerable young), but readers hoping for further information in any backmatter will be disappointed. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 37.3% of actual size.)

For readers who haven’t a musk ox of their own to snuggle up with, this tale proves just as cozy. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-10979-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more