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A PAGE IN THE WIND

A thoughtful contemplation on how our lives are affected by our interactions.

This is the life story of a newspaper—as told by the newspaper itself, naturally.

The story is told in a straightforward manner right from the beginning: “I came into the world early one morning, in a large, cold place. / There were other newborns like me, and we all kept one another warm.” Only by looking at the illustrations is the story completed. Readers then see this is not the story of a human or other mammal but of a newspaper. And so it continues, with the illustrations expanding and extending the text. One by one, each newspaper finds a home until only the protagonist is left. When the wind picks up, it “comes apart,” and a “long journey” begins. Each page travels to a different place, where it is put to a different use by its finder. Readers will find the true whimsy in this book in the clever illustrations. When the sheet of paper arrives at the home of a hardworking woman it says: “With my arrival, her face grew bright again.” Readers then see her using the newspaper to polish the mirror. The mixed-media illustrations portray white characters and appropriately include newspaper collages with Spanish words—the original language the book was written in (Una hoja en el viento). This is one to be looked at several times to fully appreciate its quiet message.

A thoughtful contemplation on how our lives are affected by our interactions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4324-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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HOME

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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