An affectionate tribute to some of New York City’s iconic residents and institutions.

READ REVIEW

THE LIONS AT NIGHT

Patience and Fortitude slip off their plinths in front of the New York Public Library for a Coney Island jaunt.

Joining the gallery of artists who have brought the library’s lions to life, Boehman crafts a wordless sojourn featuring a pair of big cats who turn yellow when the sun goes down. Positively aglow with smiling bonhomie as well as color, they ride the F train (visible to children, unnoticed by the grown-ups) into Brooklyn for a night of fun. In a mix of full-page or -spread illustrations and large sequential panels, the New York scenes start out primarily in monochrome but switch to glittering hues as the lions, sometimes going on two legs, sometimes on four, enjoy hot dogs and ice cream under the bright lights, win a big pink plush bear, ride the Cyclone, visit the beach and the aquarium, and finally make their way back to the subway and home. There, they are greeted by a descendant of their original designer, Edward Clark Potter, illustrated as a dapper librarian who reads them a story and adds the bear to a pile of stuffed toys in his office while the lions climb back onto their perches in the brightening dawn. The art features glimpses of familiar book titles as well as plenty of accurately rendered local details and properly diverse city residents (Potter is white). The illustrator’s closing note fills in historical background on the lions and their creators.

An affectionate tribute to some of New York City’s iconic residents and institutions. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-937054-78-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: The RoadRunner Press

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2019

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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In contrast to the carbs and desserts pictured, though sweet, this is unlikely to stick with readers.

BAGEL IN LOVE

A romance for carb (and pun!) lovers who dance to their own drummers and don’t give up on their dreams.

Bagel is a guy who loves to dance; when he’s tapping and twirling, he doesn’t feel plain. The problem is, he can’t find a partner for the Cherry Jubilee Dance Contest. Poppy says his steps are half-baked. Pretzel, “who was at the spa getting a salt rub…told him his moves didn’t cut the mustard.” He strikes out in Sweet City, too, with Croissant, Doughnut, and Cake. But just when he’s given up, he hears the music from the contest and can’t help moving his feet. And an echoing tap comes back to him. Could it be a partner at last? Yep, and she just happens to smell sweet and have frosting piled high. Bagel and Cupcake crush the contest, but winning the trophy? That “was just icing on the cake,” as the final sentence reads, the two standing proudly with a blue ribbon and trophy, hearts filling the space above and between them. Dardik’s digital illustrations are pastel confections. Sometimes just the characters’ heads are the treats, and other times the whole body is the foodstuff, with tiny arms and legs added on. Even the buildings are like something from “Hansel and Gretel.” However, this pun-filled narrative is just one of many of its ilk, good for a few yuks but without much staying power.

In contrast to the carbs and desserts pictured, though sweet, this is unlikely to stick with readers. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2239-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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