This tour de force of concept and design will engage the minds and hands of a wide swath of ages.

UP DOWN INSIDE OUT

A cast of eccentric humans and animals enacts 18 aphorisms in this interactive title.

Employing red and blue—and the range of tones that layering yields—Yoon has created a series of prints that will both amuse and give pause. On verso, a red-hot wall foregrounds “A watched pot [that] never boils” while four chefs on the recto, surrounding an enormous box of realistic-looking pasta, stare impatiently. (Skin color varies from literal white or black to speckled blue or crimson.) Flaps, die cuts, and a gatefold create anticipation and delight as surprises are unveiled in the ever shifting, surreal world. “You are what you eat” reveals a child’s head transformed into a gigantic broccoli floret. The heat of the reds and the busyness of abundant textures and patterns are mitigated by creamy white backgrounds or deep, moody blues, as when a man in the night opens his black trench coat to reveal his store of stolen watches, illustrating “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.” Yoon dishes up absurdity in the form of an elegantly dressed pig, a sense of danger with a rabbit-hunting wolf, and opportunities for comparison and reflection, as, for example, when the same conjoined figures are paired with the (unfortunate) choice “Liars and gossips are siamese [sic] twins,” and, later, “Two heads are better than one.”

This tour de force of concept and design will engage the minds and hands of a wide swath of ages. (Picture book. 5-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59270-280-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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Thank you, Gerald and Piggie. We’ll miss you

THE THANK YOU BOOK

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Piggie is “one lucky pig,” and she’s determined to make sure she thanks “everyone who is important to” her in this, the final Elephant & Piggie book.

Gerald is sure his friend will forget someone—“someone important”—but Piggie assures him, “It will be a THANK-O-RAMA!” Piggie proceeds to thank the Squirrels for their great ideas, Snake for playing ball, and the Pigeon “for never giving up.” Piggie thanks and thanks: “I am a thanking machine!” She thanks character after character, even the Flies (“Any time, dude!”), as Gerald continues to interject that she’ll forget “someone VERY important.” Finally Piggie runs out of thanks, and by this time Gerald is steamed. “I goofed,” Piggie says in itty-bitty type, before lavishing thanks on Gerald. But that’s not whom Piggie forgot to thank! A classic Willems tantrum later, Gerald reveals the “someone important”: “Our reader.” Of course. “We could not be ‘us’ without you,” says Gerald, earnestly looking out from the page, and Piggie chimes in, “You are the best!” As Elephant & Piggie books go, this isn’t one of the strongest, but it is a validating valediction to fans of the two characters, who have won Willems two Geisel Medals and five Honors. Yes, Gerald and Piggie have ushered countless readers into literacy, but as they rightly note, reading is a collaborative act.

Thank you, Gerald and Piggie. We’ll miss you . (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7828-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2016

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A solo debut for Wenzel showcasing both technical chops and a philosophical bent.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Caldecott Honor Book

THEY ALL SAW A CAT

Wouldn’t the same housecat look very different to a dog and a mouse, a bee and a flea, a fox, a goldfish, or a skunk?

The differences are certainly vast in Wenzel’s often melodramatic scenes. Benign and strokable beneath the hand of a light-skinned child (visible only from the waist down), the brindled cat is transformed to an ugly, skinny slinker in a suspicious dog’s view. In a fox’s eyes it looks like delectably chubby prey but looms, a terrifying monster, over a cowering mouse. It seems a field of colored dots to a bee; jagged vibrations to an earthworm; a hairy thicket to a flea. “Yes,” runs the terse commentary’s refrain, “they all saw the cat.” Words in italics and in capital letters in nearly every line give said commentary a deliberate cadence and pacing: “The cat walked through the world, / with its whiskers, ears, and paws… // and the fish saw A CAT.” Along with inviting more reflective viewers to ruminate about perception and subjectivity, the cat’s perambulations offer elemental visual delights in the art’s extreme and sudden shifts in color, texture, and mood from one page or page turn to the next.

A solo debut for Wenzel showcasing both technical chops and a philosophical bent. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5013-0

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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