TIME OUT! by Ale Barba
Kirkus Star


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 5
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An anthropomorphic pig stars in an adventure reminiscent of Max’s and Harold’s but with a Miró-like journey to outer space.

At the book’s opening, the porcine protagonist experiences a spectacular skateboard crash. This is the last straw for the second-person narrator, who orders a timeout indoors. Adult readers will note that the rebellious pig sulks in a room with two books, one titled Houdini and the other Book of Art. There is also a pencil that proves to be a potent tool. Just like Harold’s purple crayon or the magic brush of Chinese folklore, the pencil allows the piglet to draw a spaceship filled with treats such as pizza and popcorn. Pig and rocket blast off, along with the caged red bird seen in the background. Within the rocket, the two animals both contentedly sip ice cream sodas through long, striped, curvy straws. The sky outside the rocket looks like a Miró painting, with abstract stars and planets, but the next double-page spread also includes Matisse-inspired shapes. Perhaps the young artist has been busy absorbing imagery from the book on the table. While the unseen narrator continues to lecture (“I hope you’re really thinking about it”), the pig stands proudly on the moon, rainbow colors radiating out in triumph. When the narrator declares the timeout is over, the unnamed protagonist is back in place, quietly grinning. The terse text works wonderfully as a foil to the exuberant acrylic paintings, mostly executed in primary colors with bold black lines and shapes and a generous use of white space.

Totally fun, visually startling, and a paean to creative thinking. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 27th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-399-16304-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2017


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