The ultimate home-away-home story, beautifully rendered.

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JEMMY BUTTON

In this true story, an indigenous boy from Tierra del Fuego is transported to London in the early 1800s, where he encounters a vastly different world.

Living on a “faraway island” a boy named Orundellico climbs the tallest trees, views the stars, listens to the ocean and wonders what’s “on the other side.” Strangers arrive in a ship, call him Jemmy Button and invite him to visit their land. Reaching the other side of the ocean, Jemmy finds houses made of rocks “stacked in towers taller than the tallest tree.” The people, colors, noises and costumes make him feel “very small indeed.” Soon, he’s wearing their clothes, attending concerts, and even meeting the king and queen, but he never quite feels at home. When the time comes, he returns to the island, announcing: “My name is Orundellico and I have come home.” The powerful, spare text contrasts Jemmy’s innocent island life with the isolation he feels in England. His alienation is cleverly reinforced by gauche, oil and collage illustrations using flat patterns and color to compare the island’s verdant vegetation and quiet, starry nights with the sterile, geometric shapes of urban London. Diminutive, flesh-colored, bemused Jemmy always stands out in a sea of repetitive, anonymous, faceless silhouettes.

The ultimate home-away-home story, beautifully rendered. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6487-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

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Just a bit of well-armed fun, more suitable formatwise for a gift than classroom or library shelves.

MAISY'S CASTLE

A relatively sturdy pullout castle with a die-cut drawbridge and a dragon in the cellar serves as playscape for punch-out figures of medieval Maisy and her friends.

The dramatic main event follows a perfunctory scenario in which Maisy welcomes “Sir Charley” the crocodile and others to a bit of archery practice, then dons armor to win a friendly joust “by one point.” Even toddlers-at-arms (with minimal assistance from a yeoparent) can follow the easy instructions to set up the castle and brace it. The card-stock punch-outs include four characters in period dress, two rideable destriers and, oddly, a cannon. These can be stored in an accompanying pocket when not in use—or even dispensed with entirely, as the castle is not only festooned with busy guards and other residents, but there is lots of (literal) monkey business going on. Along with sending Maisy further from her customary domestic settings than usual, this outing features a possibly discomfiting quantity of weaponry—none seen actually in use, but still adding an unusually martial note to a series that generally promotes more peaceful pursuits.

Just a bit of well-armed fun, more suitable formatwise for a gift than classroom or library shelves. (Novelty. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7438-0

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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Puns, humor, and onomatopoeia emphasize the value of trying.

THE KNIGHT WHO MIGHT

Move over Little Engine That Could and get ready to share the bookshelf with The Knight Who Might.

This knight’s mantra is: “One day, I might be a knight.” But in repeated refrains, his magic horse, sword, and helmet each proclaim, “You might not” after the knight falls off his horse with an “Oof,” gets his sword stuck in a tree, and falls into a mud puddle when he tries to put his helmet on. The horse, sword, and helmet even hide when the knight enters “ye olde tournament,” reasoning, “He can’t be a knight without us.” But when the ever positive knight journeys to the tournament alone, the three show concern. “ ‘He’ll be exhausted,’ said the horse. ‘He’ll be cut to pieces,’ said the sword. ‘He’ll lose his head,’ said the helmet.” And when the knight is scheduled to battle The Lord With the Scary Looking Sword, the three doubters come to the aid of the knight when he declares, “For the first time in my life, I’m The Knight Who Might Not.” Tension builds as the knight, now with his horse, helmet, and sword, gallops closer and closer to the scary-looking sword-wielding lord until…“DONK!” Beckett emphasizes the slapstick in his cartoons. The protagonist’s magic objects all have googly eyes and eyebrows, which is a little unsettling when the helmet is on the knight’s head but does add to the silliness.

Puns, humor, and onomatopoeia emphasize the value of trying. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-84886-644-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Maverick Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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