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HAND BOOK by Jeff Newman Kirkus Star


by Jeff Newman & illustrated by Jeff Newman

Age Range: 3 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 23rd, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4169-5013-4
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Through simple drawings of hands in action, Newman deftly illustrates both the progress of a person’s life and the cyclical—and hopeful—nature of the human condition.

“One hand. / Two hands. / Two hands clap.” So begins this rhyming, universal tale about a child learning to live. He eats and swings, washes and waves, falls and gets up. As a teen, the boy studies and types; as a young man he soul-searches and job-seeks, feels defeat and accomplishment…and finds love. Newman’s two-word sentences, woven with his spontaneous, expressive drawings, lead to affecting phrasing that’s poignant and stirring. The line drawings, done in ink (or marker) with solid colors filling out the forms of the hands, are in an Al Hirschfeld– or Jules Feiffer–style of caricature or editorial illustration. Loads of white space allows the artwork to breathe; after one powerful pause, Newman returns to his opening lines, where childhood begins again, and the struggles and joys of life are reaffirmed.

A lovely tribute to growing up that will endearingly mature with its readers. (Picture book. 3 & up)