Pretty. Pretty forgettable too.

READ REVIEW

ALICE IN WONDERLAND

WITH 3-DIMENSIONAL POP-UP SCENES

An abbreviated if recognizable version of the classic, with fine-lined illustrations augmented by a set of pull-up minivistas.

Safran’s adaptation preserves the original’s general structure and bits of the dialogue and verse, though Alice’s encounters with a hookah-smoking caterpillar, “Father William,” the Lobster Quadrille, the Mock Turtle, and much else are gone. Taylor illustrates it with spot vignettes, plus an inset cover tableau and four pop-up constructs that pull open to raise and reveal multilayered scenes. Into these, Taylor places small renditions of the chubby White Rabbit, a cross-eyed Mad Hatter, and the rest in static poses while outfitting Alice in pink ballet slippers and a flow-y, sleeveless polka-dot shift. The effect is decidedly bland. Children after more flavorful takes on the tale, particularly those spiced with 3-D or other special effects, have a veritable banquet before them—from J. Otto Siebold’s quirky Alice in Pop-Up Wonderland (2003) and Robert Sabuda’s masterwork of paper engineering (2003) to the spectacular e-outings Alicewinks (2013) and Alice for the iPad (2010).

Pretty. Pretty forgettable too. (Pop-up picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-85707-814-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Tango Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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LIKE PICKLE JUICE ON A COOKIE

When Bibi, her first and favorite babysitter, moves away, it takes all of August for 8-year-old Eleanor to get beyond her sense of loss and get used to a new caretaker. Her parents grieve, too; her mother even takes some time off work. But, as is inevitable in a two-income family, eventually a new sitter appears. Natalie is sensible and understanding. They find new activities to do together, including setting up a lemonade stand outside Eleanor’s Brooklyn apartment building, waiting for Val, the mail carrier, and taking pictures of flowers with Natalie’s camera. Gradually Eleanor adjusts, September comes, her new teacher writes a welcoming letter, her best friend returns from summer vacation and third grade starts smoothly. Best of all, Val brings a loving letter from Bibi in Florida. While the story is relatively lengthy, each chapter is a self-contained episode, written simply and presented in short lines, accessible to those still struggling with the printed word. Cordell’s gray-scale line drawings reflect the action and help break up the text on almost every page. This first novel is a promising debut. Eleanor’s concerns, not only about her babysitter, but also about playmates, friends and a new school year will be familiar to readers, who will look forward to hearing more about her life. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8109-8424-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

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