Despite a few small hiccups, this is an engaging read that should satisfy its young adult audience.

FARSIGHTED

The blind will see the future in Chand’s debut young-adult novel.

High school is a miserable place for young Alex Kosmitoras as he struggles to fit in. While the teenage years are tough for most people, Alex faces the additional challenge of being born blind and he is often the butt of jokes and the target of bullies. Alex’s home life proves difficult as well, and he is constantly at odds with his distant, impatient father. As if that weren’t enough, Alex begins to experience visions, mentally seeing events that haven’t yet occurred. Although these prophecies are an unsettling, confusing revelation, Alex’s year takes a turn for the better when he befriends Simmi, the new girl in town, and connects with the physic-next-door, Miss Teak, and her daughter, Shapri. With their guidance, Alex explores his newfound “gift” of second sight. And he needs all the help he can get, as his visions soon reveal that Simmi is in great danger; in the middle of lunch, Alex sees Simmi “choking, gasping for air, clawing frantically at her throat” and then dying in his arms. As the visions of her death continue, it becomes imperative that Alex learn to control and channel his physic revelations in order to identify the threat, protect Simmi and avert this deadly future. In spite of a slow start, Chand’s story quickly picks up steam as Alex, Simmi and Miss Teak work together to locate the mysterious character that threatens Simmi’s life. The mystery is intriguing and, with a few exceptions, Chand’s characters are compelling and diverse. Shapri is a standout, as she struggles against her own potential psychic gifts and wavers between feelings of love and annoyance for Alex. Chand also presents runes and prophecies at the beginning of each chapter, and though some readers may utilize these clues to make predictions, the concept doesn’t augment the excitement or mystery.

Despite a few small hiccups, this is an engaging read that should satisfy its young adult audience.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2011

ISBN: 978-0983930808

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Blue Crown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2012

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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

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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

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