A touching, useful way to approach a difficult issue that should find a home among families, in libraries, and in school...

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MAMA'S CLOUD

A child imagines ways to make his mother’s sadness go away in this touching picture book by debut author Williams and featuring illustrations by Ark.

Mama can heal with a kiss and cure sadness, and her child sees her as being full of magic. Together, the two pretend to be superheroes or fairies or wizards. But sometimes Mama can’t smile; it’s as though a dark cloud is hovering over her, sapping her magic. The child wants to help; to do so, the youngster becomes a fairy, a wizard, a fan dancer, a superhero, an inventor, the sun, and a unicorn. But imagining only takes the child so far: “I’m only me,” the young one admits. Ultimately, a hug helps the mother, if only a little, giving the story a hopeful ending. The poetic, child-friendly text tackles hard-to-discuss ideas about mental health and depression, acknowledging that it’s not the child’s job to fix it and embracing the hope that one can help just by being oneself. Ark’s gorgeous digital illustrations are informed by her watercolor experience, and the merging of the child’s sunny magic and the mother’s dark cloud is beautiful.

A touching, useful way to approach a difficult issue that should find a home among families, in libraries, and in school counselors’ offices.

Pub Date: June 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77534-562-6

Page Count: 26

Publisher: All Write Here Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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CINDERELLA

This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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