Being just a single spread, it’s a quick visit—but big and busy enough to draw and please several viewers at once.

VISIT THE BHIL CARNIVAL

A double-gatefold map opens flat to display a pop-up Ferris wheel and other attractions at an annual festival held in the central Indian province of Madhya Pradesh.

A booklet inset at the corner describes the route that excited young visitors Neela and his little sister Peela take, but it can also be traced thanks to labels on the map. First they go to the balloon man, then up on the high, hand-powered wheel. Once down, they proceed past drummers and shops (“HANKIES, coloured HANKIES!” “COCONUT BURFI! TOFFEE! LADDOO!”) to the ice cream man (“CHOC-O-BAR!” he shouts. “PINEAPPLE! PISTA!”). There’s a stop at a photo studio and finally the road home. In the traditional style of his Bhil people, Amaliyar creates an aerial view of carnival grounds crowded with stylized figures depicted in bright primary colors and covered in decorative rows of colored dots. Along with the food, some of the activities on view—a fistfight, bows and arrows pointed in various directions—distinguish this carnival from the typical North American sort (and going unmentioned is the real fair’s marriage market, in which young couples are given an opportunity to elope), but the illustrations and the narrative are both vibrant with the celebratory energy that carnivals everywhere evoke.

Being just a single spread, it’s a quick visit—but big and busy enough to draw and please several viewers at once. (afterword) (Pop-up picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-93-83145-11-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Tara Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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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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