Haphazard stabs at describing at least parts of the creative process—more illuminating perhaps for the artist’s students...

READ REVIEW

I HAVE AN IDEA!

A gifted finder of ideas explains how to track the tricky, elusive things down.

Readers should be warned to hold on to their hats, because although it’s presented as one long, breathless mix of hand-lettered expostulations and dashed-off jabs, squiggles, and swipes of blue, red, and yellow paint, Tullet’s monologue veers about like an unknotted balloon. Dispensing with a title page, he opens abruptly by marveling at the “OH!” moment when an idea hits, then rhetorically asking what an idea might be. He goes on to describe hunting for one as an arduous, even “boring” task. Observing that happening upon an idea is “a little like finding a seed” that grows, he suddenly switches his conceit to exclaim that ideas will come in a “messy and bubbly” swarm—but must be sifted to find the “good” ones, which “always” contain “a seed of madness.” Rather than pausing to unpack that vague if fine-sounding phrase, he rushes on to claim (with one minor typo) confusingly that “those seeds” (which ones?) are hidden everywhere but can be found, cultivated, absorbed in the mind, and ultimately combined…to make an idea. (Weren’t we there already?) Finally, following the affirmation that the effort is worthwhile, whether “just for the fun of it” or “to change the world,” he closes with the inspirational assurance that those who seek will find. Well, that part at least is clear enough.

Haphazard stabs at describing at least parts of the creative process—more illuminating perhaps for the artist’s students than the rest of his audience. (Picture book. 8-10, adult)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7858-5

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock”...

THE SINGING ROCK & OTHER BRAND-NEW FAIRY TALES

The theme of persistence (for better or worse) links four tales of magic, trickery, and near disasters.

Lachenmeyer freely borrows familiar folkloric elements, subjecting them to mildly comical twists. In the nearly wordless “Hip Hop Wish,” a frog inadvertently rubs a magic lamp and finds itself saddled with an importunate genie eager to shower it with inappropriate goods and riches. In the title tale, an increasingly annoyed music-hating witch transforms a persistent minstrel into a still-warbling cow, horse, sheep, goat, pig, duck, and rock in succession—then is horrified to catch herself humming a tune. Athesius the sorcerer outwits Warthius, a rival trying to steal his spells via a parrot, by casting silly ones in Ig-pay Atin-lay in the third episode, and in the finale, a painter’s repeated efforts to create a flattering portrait of an ogre king nearly get him thrown into a dungeon…until he suddenly understands what an ogre’s idea of “flattering” might be. The narratives, dialogue, and sound effects leave plenty of elbow room in Blocker’s big, brightly colored panels for the expressive animal and human(ish) figures—most of the latter being light skinned except for the golden genie, the blue ogre, and several people of color in the “Sorcerer’s New Pet.”

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock” music. (Graphic short stories. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59643-750-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Too twee for its own good.

MAXIM'S ALL NIGHT DINER

Annabel’s curious about witches; will that be the end of her?

Annabel’s writing a book about witches. The white Londoner wants to know everything about them. When she meets Patrick, a green-haired white boy, on the top deck of a double-decker bus, he informs her he can tell her everything about witches—but it’ll be dangerous. Annabel’s still eager; he takes her down a street she’s never seen even though it’s near where she lives and introduces her to his mother, Mrs. Rainbow. They take her to Maxim’s All Night Diner, where all manner of strange creatures gather and trade stories. There, Annabel learns she’ll have to tell a story, and she may be trapped in that story (especially since Mrs. Rainbow has cursed her for saying “please,” which witches cannot abide). After several wild tales, it’s Annabel’s turn. Will she survive? Haugaard’s self-consciously whimsical debut is a meandering and, at times, nonsensical muddle. The stories-within-a-story conceit gets away from the author early, due mostly to tricky use of punctuation conventions. Stories are initially introduced as spoken dialogue but then lose their quotation marks, presumably to make it clear when characters within them are speaking, but they are so short and dialogue tags elided often enough that readers may find themselves confused as to which story they are in. Poor copy editing compounds the confusion.

Too twee for its own good. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-911427-00-1

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Everything With Words

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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