As a representative of the “reading is awesome” genre, this offers a fairly witty alternative to the often drearily earnest...

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YOU CAN READ

This book’s title and cover, on which two kids tote heaps of books, will have librarians, teachers, and book mavens immediately reaching for it.

However, the title is a bit deceiving, as the book is not a how-to for decoding words; instead, it’s a paean to reading minus a plot. The device is a series of sentences beginning with the words “you can read…” followed by a list of various places. A nameless pale-skinned boy and brown-skinned girl demonstrate the many scenarios in which books can be read, proving you can read anywhere. Some of the locations are unremarkable, while others are fanciful: in the classroom, in the park, and under the covers will seem familiar, while in the desert, on the ocean floor, or in a rocket stretch the bounds of possibility. Some side-by-side pages depict a relationship, as when one child sits on the throne reading a book called The Time Taker while the other knocks on the locked door with legs crossed urgently, holding a copy of News Flush. Others add humor. Both a scenario in which a child reading while walking down the street results in a presumably poo-covered foot (“EEEW!”) and another that depicts the little boy in his tighty whities are calibrated to elicit giggles. The stylized digital artwork with hand lettering fills the pages, giving the illustrations a somewhat posterlike quality. The titles of what the kids are reading comment on the activities depicted. Oddly, a library is not listed as a place to read. This will pair nicely with other books about the pleasures of reading and can be used to invite a conversation with kids.

As a representative of the “reading is awesome” genre, this offers a fairly witty alternative to the often drearily earnest run of the mill. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1324-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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A validating and breathtaking next chapter of a Mother Goose favorite.

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AFTER THE FALL (HOW HUMPTY DUMPTY GOT BACK UP AGAIN)

Humpty Dumpty, classically portrayed as an egg, recounts what happened after he fell off the wall in Santat’s latest.

An avid ornithophile, Humpty had loved being atop a high wall to be close to the birds, but after his fall and reassembly by the king’s men, high places—even his lofted bed—become intolerable. As he puts it, “There were some parts that couldn’t be healed with bandages and glue.” Although fear bars Humpty from many of his passions, it is the birds he misses the most, and he painstakingly builds (after several papercut-punctuated attempts) a beautiful paper plane to fly among them. But when the plane lands on the very wall Humpty has so doggedly been avoiding, he faces the choice of continuing to follow his fear or to break free of it, which he does, going from cracked egg to powerful flight in a sequence of stunning spreads. Santat applies his considerable talent for intertwining visual and textual, whimsy and gravity to his consideration of trauma and the oft-overlooked importance of self-determined recovery. While this newest addition to Santat’s successes will inevitably (and deservedly) be lauded, younger readers may not notice the de-emphasis of an equally important part of recovery: that it is not compulsory—it is OK not to be OK.

A validating and breathtaking next chapter of a Mother Goose favorite. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-682-6

Page Count: 45

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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