Original storytelling with the feel of the best folklore, enhanced by illustrations done in a style not seen anyplace else.

THE STORYTELLER

The art of storytelling is celebrated as a life-giving force in this enthralling picture book set in Morocco.

A nameless, thirsty boy meets a storyteller and is drawn to return day after day to listen to intricately linked stories and to learn the older man’s art. The stories bring not only sustenance to the boy’s inner life, but water to his lips, for in this world, storytelling and water are symbolically connected. Stories will ward off the great drought if the Sahara encroaches on the cities, but only if young people keep the tradition alive. And so, in the manner of Scheherazade, the stories unfold, and the protagonist retells the story of the boy who saved the city from the sandstorm that arrived as a large djinn by telling him a story, day by day. With the stories embodying sharing, creativity, and hope, the life force of cool blue water appears in the illustrations, the antithesis of the destructive brown sand. Beautiful swirls of blue dominate many of the intricately bordered double-page spreads, fighting against the tans and browns of the djinn and the sands he represents. Each spread takes on a life of its own, sometimes highly geometric, other times full of swiftly crayon-drawn individuals, and still others with heavily inked and outlined figures.

Original storytelling with the feel of the best folklore, enhanced by illustrations done in a style not seen anyplace else. (author’s note, bibliography) (Picture book. 6-11)

Pub Date: June 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3518-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent.

HORTON AND THE KWUGGERBUG AND MORE LOST STORIES

Published in magazines, never seen since / Now resurrected for pleasure intense / Versified episodes numbering four / Featuring Marco, and Horton and more!

All of the entries in this follow-up to The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories (2011) involve a certain amount of sharp dealing. Horton carries a Kwuggerbug through crocodile-infested waters and up a steep mountain because “a deal is a deal”—and then is cheated out of his promised share of delicious Beezlenuts. Officer Pat heads off escalating, imagined disasters on Mulberry Street by clubbing a pesky gnat. Marco (originally met on that same Mulberry Street) concocts a baroque excuse for being late to school. In the closer, a smooth-talking Grinch (not the green sort) sells a gullible Hoobub a piece of string. In a lively introduction, uber-fan Charles D. Cohen (The Seuss, The Whole Seuss, and Nothing but the Seuss, 2002) provides publishing histories, places characters and settings in Seussian context, and offers insights into, for instance, the origin of “Grinch.” Along with predictably engaging wordplay—“He climbed. He grew dizzy. His ankles grew numb. / But he climbed and he climbed and he clum and he clum”—each tale features bright, crisply reproduced renditions of its original illustrations. Except for “The Hoobub and the Grinch,” which has been jammed into a single spread, the verses and pictures are laid out in spacious, visually appealing ways.

Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-38298-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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