Winter captures in two dimensions a great deal of the evocative nature of Cornell’s three-dimensional work in a way that...

MR. CORNELL'S DREAM BOXES

A gentle homage to artist Joseph Cornell explores artistic inspiration for very young readers and listeners.

Winter presents Cornell in the context of home on Utopia Parkway: caring for his brother upstairs, dreaming in his backyard, assembling his unique shadow boxes in the cellar of the house in Queens, New York, where artists and collectors eventually come to visit, as the author’s note reveals. Winter offers a look at a form of artistic expression within reach of her audience, explaining that Cornell was neither painter nor sculptor, yet he created “WONDERLANDS covered in glass.” She charmingly discloses that Cornell loved sweets and imagines child readers or listeners as one of the neighbors Cornell might have invited to a special exhibit of his boxes. Winter’s digitally rendered art is delicate and inviting. Images repeat and transform from imagined glimpses through the windows of Cornell’s house to a view into the artist’s dreams and memories. The plain outlines of his house are overlaid with images of a swan and a moon in one illustration, bright birds in another. She conveys the dreamlike quality of his work, even when strange or disquieting: “He remembered learning about stars, / and how the endless sky scared him.”

Winter captures in two dimensions a great deal of the evocative nature of Cornell’s three-dimensional work in a way that will be intriguing for the very young. (Picture book/biography. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-9900-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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Lacking in originality yet ultimately a timely mirror for black boyhood and childhood

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This companion to Happy Hair (2019) takes the same appreciation for the diversity of black self-expression from the beauty salon to the barbershop.

Branching out from black girl hairstyles, Roe here extends the conversation to consider the multitude of hairstyles for black and brown boys even as readers can infer a wider representation of the gender spectrum, since many of the illustrations come without explicit gender assignments. There’s a legacy of black boys who have been targeted, punished, or criticized for their choice of self-expression, and this book is a needed corrective. Arriving after the much-heralded Crown (2017), this makes space to celebrate a wide range of styles, from cornrows and curls to fro-hawks and flat-tops. Each matte, posterlike portrait is rendered alongside a catchy, empowering quote: “When the stars shine, / the world is mine” highlights a high-top; “A happy boy, / full of joy!” celebrates a step-up. A (rather trite) refrain pulls them all together: “i am born to be AWESOME!” Roe is returning to the series after Superheroes Are Everywhere (2019), her recent bestselling collaboration with Sen. Kamala Harris, undoubtedly bringing a number of new fans with her. For a segment of U.S. readership that is starved for representation that appreciates the unique details and nuances of their style and identity, this steps in to lift up their presence in bright, lively portraiture.

Lacking in originality yet ultimately a timely mirror for black boyhood and childhood . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9557-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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