Almost an artist’s book rather than a book for children, this artfully constructed alphabet book holds its strength in design rather than beauty, although a few of the images are incidentally beautiful. For each opening, the verso holds a capital and lower-case letter, a single word beginning with that letter and a phrase describing the medium of the image in the photograph opposite, in which the word appears: “Ll / Love / Carved in wood. Tree-trunk monument.” The letters themselves are dropped out, filled in with a piece of their photograph: The letters Qq are printed in the pattern of the vinyl flooring of the decal shadows that make the word “queen.” Beam took these photographs of words in the city of Toronto; the text was written by author and children’s librarian Schwartz. The words, as one might imagine, tend to the random—“brute,” “evoke,” “um.” Fascinating, but probably more for young adults than for children. It will certainly have readers seeing their own cities with new eyes. (Picture book. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-88899-928-3

Page Count: 60

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2009



Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-82979-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1999


From the Legendary Alston Boys series , Vol. 1

This can’t be the last we ever hear of the Legendary Alston Boys of the purely surreal Logan County—imaginative,...

Can this really be the first time readers meet the Legendary Alston Boys of Logan County? Cousins and veteran sleuths Otto and Sheed Alston show us that we are the ones who are late to their greatness.

These two black boys are coming to terms with the end of their brave, heroic summer at Grandma’s, with a return to school just right around the corner. They’ve already got two keys to the city, but the rival Epic Ellisons—twin sisters Wiki and Leen—are steadily gaining celebrity across Logan County, Virginia, and have in hand their third key to the city. No way summer can end like this! These young people are powerful, courageous, experienced adventurers molded through their heroic commitment to discipline and deduction. They’ve got their shared, lifesaving maneuvers committed to memory (printed in a helpful appendix) and ready to save any day. Save the day they must, as a mysterious, bendy gentleman and an oversized, clingy platypus have been unleashed on the city of Fry, and all the residents and their belongings seem to be frozen in time and place. Will they be able to solve this one? With total mastery, Giles creates in Logan County an exuberant vortex of weirdness, where the commonplace sits cheek by jowl with the utterly fantastic, and populates it with memorable characters who more than live up to their setting.

This can’t be the last we ever hear of the Legendary Alston Boys of the purely surreal Logan County—imaginative, thrill-seeking readers, this is a series to look out for. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-46083-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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