HELP! WE NEED A TITLE!

The thick, black, paper-over-board cover suggests a sketchbook; in the adeptly controlled chaos within, Tullet outlines the...

Clever new metafiction from the prolific French artist (Press Here, 2011, etc.).

With a seeming nod to Pirandello’s absurdist early-20th-century play Six Characters in Search of an Author, Tullet introduces a literally sketchy cast, utterly discombobulated at having been prematurely discovered. “There are people here... / And they’ve opened OUR BOOK!” The characters (pink pig, wand-toting fairy, orange dog, green snake, amorphous stick figure and red monster) confer over how best to entertain the “very sweet” readers who’ve suddenly materialized. First they produce “a bit of background color” (a consciously banal tropical sunset). Concurring that they need a story and, ergo, an author, they remember that they know one! The pack descends upon Tullet. (Wryly, he plays himself, in photographed headshots atop a crayoned blue shirt.) Contrasting with the preceding slapdash, mixed-media tumult, the author’s orderly studio (replete with tools of his trade) is rendered in perspective, in thick black line. Pressured by his unruly creations, he supplies a sappy eight-page vignette to get them to clear out. Their negative critique provokes him to order them off (while conspiratorially enlisting readers to “Press HERE, please?” to turn off the desk lamp).

The thick, black, paper-over-board cover suggests a sketchbook; in the adeptly controlled chaos within, Tullet outlines the elements of a good story while supplying kids with plenty of inspiration to create their own. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7021-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

HOME

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

I WISH YOU MORE

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.

A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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