Well-meant but more didactic than entertaining.

READ REVIEW

THE RED BICYCLE

THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF ONE ORDINARY BICYCLE

When Leo outgrows his beloved red bicycle, he sends it to Burkina Faso, where it takes on new lives.

This addition to the publisher’s CitizenKid collection follows the journey of an 18-speed bicycle from its first owner, a North American boy, to a country where bicycles are more useful than cars. Its new owner, Alisetta, can now get quickly to her fields and take sorghum and other goods to market, enriching the lives of her family. After a small disaster that renders it useless to the family, the bicycle is refurbished as an ambulance. A third owner, Haridata, brings patients to a medical clinic. The wordy narrative appears to focus on the bicycle, but perhaps because the writer tries to include as many details as possible about life in Burkina Faso, her story never comes alive. Each spread includes a summary line, which would be useful for read-alouds were it not printed nearly invisibly against the background illustration. Shin’s digitally composed illustrations include vignettes, full-page images and occasional double-page spreads. Details of clothing and the characters’ bike-related activities are clearly depicted. One helpful spread shows the bike’s shipboard path superimposed on a simple world map. The backmatter includes suggestions for readers to involve themselves in bicycle donation and a note for parents and teachers.

Well-meant but more didactic than entertaining. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-77138-023-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock”...

THE SINGING ROCK & OTHER BRAND-NEW FAIRY TALES

The theme of persistence (for better or worse) links four tales of magic, trickery, and near disasters.

Lachenmeyer freely borrows familiar folkloric elements, subjecting them to mildly comical twists. In the nearly wordless “Hip Hop Wish,” a frog inadvertently rubs a magic lamp and finds itself saddled with an importunate genie eager to shower it with inappropriate goods and riches. In the title tale, an increasingly annoyed music-hating witch transforms a persistent minstrel into a still-warbling cow, horse, sheep, goat, pig, duck, and rock in succession—then is horrified to catch herself humming a tune. Athesius the sorcerer outwits Warthius, a rival trying to steal his spells via a parrot, by casting silly ones in Ig-pay Atin-lay in the third episode, and in the finale, a painter’s repeated efforts to create a flattering portrait of an ogre king nearly get him thrown into a dungeon…until he suddenly understands what an ogre’s idea of “flattering” might be. The narratives, dialogue, and sound effects leave plenty of elbow room in Blocker’s big, brightly colored panels for the expressive animal and human(ish) figures—most of the latter being light skinned except for the golden genie, the blue ogre, and several people of color in the “Sorcerer’s New Pet.”

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock” music. (Graphic short stories. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59643-750-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Haphazard stabs at describing at least parts of the creative process—more illuminating perhaps for the artist’s students...

I HAVE AN IDEA!

A gifted finder of ideas explains how to track the tricky, elusive things down.

Readers should be warned to hold on to their hats, because although it’s presented as one long, breathless mix of hand-lettered expostulations and dashed-off jabs, squiggles, and swipes of blue, red, and yellow paint, Tullet’s monologue veers about like an unknotted balloon. Dispensing with a title page, he opens abruptly by marveling at the “OH!” moment when an idea hits, then rhetorically asking what an idea might be. He goes on to describe hunting for one as an arduous, even “boring” task. Observing that happening upon an idea is “a little like finding a seed” that grows, he suddenly switches his conceit to exclaim that ideas will come in a “messy and bubbly” swarm—but must be sifted to find the “good” ones, which “always” contain “a seed of madness.” Rather than pausing to unpack that vague if fine-sounding phrase, he rushes on to claim (with one minor typo) confusingly that “those seeds” (which ones?) are hidden everywhere but can be found, cultivated, absorbed in the mind, and ultimately combined…to make an idea. (Weren’t we there already?) Finally, following the affirmation that the effort is worthwhile, whether “just for the fun of it” or “to change the world,” he closes with the inspirational assurance that those who seek will find. Well, that part at least is clear enough.

Haphazard stabs at describing at least parts of the creative process—more illuminating perhaps for the artist’s students than the rest of his audience. (Picture book. 8-10, adult)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7858-5

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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