A thrilling head-rush of an adventure.

DOWNBURST

Robison’s debut novel follows a runaway on a fast-paced adventure.

After fleeing her foster home, Kit finds a none-too-warm welcome in the big city. On the surprisingly mean streets of Winnipeg, she’s shanghaied into selling fake identification. In too-quick succession, she runs from the cops, witnesses the murder of her own lookalike, becomes the victim of a kidnapping and gets stranded in the wilderness. She finds her way to a secret training camp, where all the campers can fly, and where no one knows who she is. Assuming the identity of a murdered girl, Kit adjusts to this strange, unfamiliar Native American tribe. The book packs the plot of three novels into one, leaping from one tragic episode to the next. Sometimes the story moves forward at the expense of certain plotlines, even cutting off a promising love triangle only to cram in more explosions. The narrative flows well, although it’s fractured and, at times, soap opera–esque. Robison clearly conveys a complicated storyline, despite the jarring transition from an almost post-apocalyptic, nightmarish cityscape to tribal forests and hidden mountains. The breakneck pace becomes tiring, but it also flatters her brave heroine, creating a character whom readers will cheer on. Kit’s apparent ignorance concerning her past—or perhaps her unwillingness to divulge it to the reader—is irksome. Some features of the novel, like the flowery descriptions or the hard-to-believe plotline, can annoy readers, but the novel presents an intriguing adventure with more than enough twists and turns to hold interest. Much like her character, the debut takes flight, leaving readers eager for the next installment.

A thrilling head-rush of an adventure.

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0985046514

Page Count: 276

Publisher: Quil Books, Inc.

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2012

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

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. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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