A pleasure for the eye; the ear wants more.

GARDEN JUNGLE

A bored child takes his mother’s advice, and as he becomes more observant of his surroundings, the garden transforms into a dazzling jungle.

Opening scenes depict black silhouettes (with white details) against a lavender background; they channel the delicacy and whimsy of Arthur Rackham images. It is a bright coral butterfly that leads Tom into a series of seven, intricate, laser-cut pages that comprise the dense jungle. Each of these pages is decorated on both sides, and the sequence gradually transitions from midnight blue to mint green, the leafy layers and hanging vines of the card stock creating an illusion of depth and distance. Exotic birds, fragile flowers, and animals (including a cat that morphs into a leopard) punctuate the coolness with spots of coral. Tom remains a black silhouette as he climbs a tree and swims in a river. In contrast to this lush landscape is a pedestrian, singsong text told in aabb couplets (translated from the French): “Why not take a look at what’s outside your door? / You’ll find lots of things that you’ve not seen before,” reads the mother’s initial admonishment. Returning home, the protagonist is excited about his “journey” and anxious to revisit the jungle, suggesting that imagination is an antidote to boredom. Since the premise is not new and there is not much action, this title needed a more skillfully written narrative to rise above the rest.

A pleasure for the eye; the ear wants more. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-500-65224-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life.

¡VAMOS! LET'S GO TO THE MARKET

From the ¡Vamos! series

Little Lobo and his dog, Bernabé, journey through a Mexican mercado delivering diverse goods to a variety of booths.

With the aid of red words splattered throughout the spreads as labels, Raúl the Third gives an introduction to Spanish vocabulary as Little Lobo, an anthropomorphic wolf, leaves his house, fills his cart with objects from his warehouse, and delivers them to the market’s vendors. The journey also serves as a crash course in Mexican culture, as the images are packed with intertextual details such as food, traditional games, and characters, including Cantinflas, Frida Khalo, and Juan Gabriel. Readers acquainted with Raúl the Third’s characters from his Lowriders series with author Cathy Camper will appreciate cameos from familiar characters. As he makes his rounds, Little Lobo also collects different artifacts that people offer in exchange for his deliveries of shoe polish, clothespins, wood, tissue paper, paintbrushes, and a pair of golden laces. Although Raúl the Third departs from the ball-pen illustrations that he is known for, his depiction of creatures and critters peppering the borderland where his stories are set remains in his trademark style. The softer hues in the illustrations (chosen by colorist Bay) keep the busy compositions friendly, and the halftone patterns filling the illustrations create foregrounds and backgrounds reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein’s pointillism.

A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-55726-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached.

EXTRA YARN

A little girl in a town of white snow and soot-blackened chimneys opens a small box and discovers a never-ending gift of colorful yarn.

Annabelle knits herself a sweater, and with the leftover yarn, she knits one for her dog, and with the yarn left over from that, she knits one for a neighbor and for her classmates and for her teacher and for her family and for the birdhouse and for the buildings in town. All and everything are warm, cozy and colorful until a clotheshorse of an archduke arrives. Annabelle refuses his monetary offers, whereupon the box is stolen. The greedy archduke gets his just deserts when he opens the box to find it empty. It wends its way back to Annabelle, who ends up happily sitting in a knit-covered tree. Klassen, who worked on the film Coraline, uses inks, gouache and colorized scans of a sweater to create a stylized, linear design of dark geometric shapes against a white background. The stitches of the sweaters add a subdued rainbow. Barnett entertained middle-grade readers with his Brixton Brothers detective series. Here, he maintains a folkloric narrative that results in a traditional story arc complete with repetition, drama and a satisfying conclusion.

A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-195338-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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