An action-packed contretemps, though in the end it's more a bit of technical advice for young artists than a general tribute...

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SCRIBBLES AND INK

Two artistes conflict, critique and ultimately collaborate amid a bracing mess of splashes and scribbles.

Deftly drawn in ways that reflect their individual styles, Ink the dapper mouse paints neatly limned still lifes, while disheveled Scribbles the cat sketches loose portraits with colored pencils. Turning up their noses at one another’s efforts (“Amateur!” “Hack!”), the two engage in an escalating squabble that begins with insults but soon takes over entire pages with Harold and the Purple Crayon–like figures and pranks. At last, a full-spread mutual meltdown depicted in wild scrawls and blotches leads to an agreement to work together—on a series of paintings (including one on a big double foldout) that bear strong resemblances to art by Leonardo da Vinci, Keith Haring and other renowned artists. Long’s visual exuberance echoes that achieved in the likes of David Catrow’s I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More (written by Karen Beaumont, 2005) and especially David Wiesner’s Art and Max (2010), which has a similar plot to boot. In closing, though, he identifies the artists he’s referenced and adds a distinctive fillip by suggesting that copying great art done by others isn’t a bad way to develop one’s own skills.

An action-packed contretemps, though in the end it's more a bit of technical advice for young artists than a general tribute to the benefits of working together. (downloadable blank sketchbook [not seen]) (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 25, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60905-205-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Blue Apple

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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The story feels a bit contrived, but Ada will be a welcome addition to the small circle of science-loving girls in the...

ADA LACE, ON THE CASE

From the Ada Lace series , Vol. 1

Using science and technology, third-grader Ada Lace kicks off her new series by solving a mystery even with her leg in a cast.

Temporarily housebound after a badly executed bungee jump, Ada uses binoculars to document the ecosystem of her new neighborhood in San Francisco. She records her observations in a field journal, a project that intrigues new friend Nina, who lives nearby. When they see that Ms. Reed’s dog, Marguerite, is missing, they leap to the conclusion that it has been stolen. Nina does the legwork and Ada provides the technology for their search for the dognapper. Story-crafting takes a back seat to scene-setting in this series kickoff that introduces the major players. As part of the series formula, science topics and gadgetry are integrated into the stories and further explained in a “Behind the Science” afterword. This installment incorporates drones, a wireless camera, gecko gloves, and the Turing test as well as the concept of an ecosystem. There are no ethnic indicators in the text, but the illustrations reveal that Ada, her family, and bratty neighbor Milton are white; Nina appears to be Southeast Asian; and Mr. Peebles, an inventor who lives nearby, is black.

The story feels a bit contrived, but Ada will be a welcome addition to the small circle of science-loving girls in the chapter-book world. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8599-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Steer Cthulhu-craving kiddies to Charles Gilman’s fearful and funny Lovecraft Middle School.

DR. FELL AND THE PLAYGROUND OF DOOM

Dr. Fell, foul fiend or friend to children?

The last house on Hardscrabble Street, empty and old, has always been a playground for the local children, so when a “sold” sign appears in the yard, no one’s pleased. Jerry and Gail Bloom and Gail’s friend Nancy Pinkblossom meet their new neighbor, the wizened Dr. Fell, and bemoan the loss of their play space. A few days later, a fantastical playground of pirate ships and castle towers appears in Dr. Fell’s yard. Before long, children start getting hurt there, but every injury on Dr. Fell’s playground heals quickly under his care. Gail, Jerry, and Nancy grow suspicious, especially when their parents start acting strangely. Then Gail returns from a visit to Dr. Fell acting brainwashed. Her friend and brother cure her, but as Dr. Fell’s control of the town grows, the trio realizes something terribly sinister’s afoot. Can they head it off? Actor and storyteller Neilsen’s debut tries too hard from the start. Dr. Fell speaks in purple prose and then translates himself nearly every time he converses, a characterization tic that grows old quickly. Repetition of humorless gags and forced quirkiness in nomenclature cannot be saved by a shallow attempt at Lovecraft-ian horror far too late in the tale. Terry’s black-and-white illustrations add atmosphere and depict an evidently all-white cast.

Steer Cthulhu-craving kiddies to Charles Gilman’s fearful and funny Lovecraft Middle School. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93578-1

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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