Inventive and fun: a sassy, vividly illustrated child’s introduction to the gifted Norwegian versifier.

LITTLE PARSLEY

Floridly illustrated nonsense verse, Norwegian style.

First published as Lille persillein 1961 and newly translated by Crook, this book brings the arresting combination of light verse from one of Norway’s most famous 20th-century poets and the ornate illustrations of the grandson of French post-impressionist Paul Gaugin to a U.S. audience. Hagerup published her first collection of poetry in 1939, and though she gained fame as a powerful voice in the Resistance when the Nazis occupied Norway, she was also beloved as a writer of children’s verse. Here Crook unleashes the sonic force of Hagerup’s rhymed lyric somersaults as she imagines the inner life of a host of common creatures: a crab, a “pondering” pig, a hedgehog, a wasp—even plants like gooseberries, chervil, sweet peas, and the eponymous parsley. She also introduces such memorable figures as “My Cousin,” who “wrangles reptiles / for the city fire station. / It is a marvelous vocation, / wrangling writhing reptiles,” and “my little niece Patrice, / who is permitted to run wild— / she is a beastly child.” Gaugin’s richly detailed pen-and-ink drawings, touched with pops of color, heighten Hagerup’s zaniness throughout the collection, here capturing cheeky Patrice onstage, ready to curtsy, with her tongue sticking out.

Inventive and fun: a sassy, vividly illustrated child’s introduction to the gifted Norwegian versifier. (Picture book/poetry. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59270-286-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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There’s always tomorrow.

TOMORROW IS WAITING

A lyrical message of perseverance and optimism.

The text uses direct address, which the title- and final-page illustrations suggest comes from an adult voice, to offer inspiration and encouragement. The opening spreads reads, “Tonight as you sleep, a new day stirs. / Each kiss good night is a wish for tomorrow,” as the accompanying art depicts a child with black hair and light skin asleep in a bed that’s fantastically situated in a stylized landscape of buildings, overpasses, and roadways. The effect is dreamlike, in contrast with the next illustration, of a child of color walking through a field and blowing dandelion fluff at sunrise. Until the last spread, each child depicted in a range of settings is solitary. Some visual metaphors falter in terms of credibility, as in the case of a white-appearing child using a wheelchair in an Antarctic ice cave strewn with obstacles, as the text reads “you’ll explore the world, only feeling lost in your imagination.” Others are oblique in attempted connections between text and art. How does a picture of a pale-skinned, black-haired child on a bridge in the rain evoke “first moments that will dance with you”? But the image of a child with pink skin and brown hair scaling a wall as text reads “there will be injustice that will challenge you, and it will surprise you how brave you can be” is clearer.

There’s always tomorrow. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-101-99437-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared.

IMAGINE

Former Poet Laureate Herrera encourages his young readers to imagine all they might be in his new picture book.

Herrera’s free verse tells his own story, starting as a young boy who loves the plants and animals he finds outdoors in the California fields and is then thrust into the barren, concrete city. In the city he begins to learn to read and write, learning English and discovering a love for words and the way ink flows “like tiny rivers” across the page as he applies pen to paper. Words soon become sentences, poems, lyrics, and a means of escape. This love of the word ultimately leads him to make writing his vocation and to become the first Chicano Poet Laureate of the United States, an honor Herrera received in 2015. Through this story of hardship to success, expressed in a series of conditional statements that all begin “If I,” Herrera implores his readers to “imagine what you could do.” Castillo’s ink and foam monoprint illustrations are a tender accompaniment to Herrera’s verse, the black lines of her illustrations flowing across the page in rhythm with the author’s poetry. Together this makes for a charming read-aloud for groups or a child snuggled in a lap.

A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared. (Picture book/memoir. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9052-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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