A young collector repurposes found junk, bringing his scoffing peers along on a flight of fancy.
To Zane a hubcap is a “flying saucer’s crest,” a brown bag with armholes becomes a warrior’s shield and other litter is similarly transformed. Initially dismissive, the other kids in his urban neighborhood are soon marching along behind brandishing their own finds—and gathering at last aboard a packing-crate “ship” constructed in an empty lot. Though thematically kin to Antoinette Portis’ Not a Box (2006) and other celebrations of imaginative play, it’s a poor relation. Bennett’s rhyming cadences are occasionally forced: “One day I went rambling / and found a long lasso.” Moreover, the multicultural cast of children in Murphy’s seedy settings have oddly misshapen facial features, and one discovery (“Hey! What’s that?”) is rendered as a visual jumble that will leave readers confused about what they’re supposed to be seeing.
A worthy but not uncommon premise, developed elsewhere with better writing and art. (Picture book. 5-7)