An earnest tale about the power of story.


During a time of oppressive fear, a librarian comforts her community.

The book’s first spread shows a child celebrating a birthday with loved ones in an apartment in upper panels on verso; in the lower panels and across the gutter readers see the celebration ending in destruction when soldiers bomb the library across the street. The people now live in fear where “crumbling buildings…look like ghosts,” tanks roll by, soldiers stomp, food and water are rationed, and everything—from the streets to townspeople’s moods—seems “frozen” and grim. But sitting on a bench in the apartment square and reading aloud is the intrepid town librarian, the illustrations depicting her words literally flowing through the town. Though the adults fear the soldiers’ responses (“Foolish woman,” Papa mutters), the children gradually step forth to listen, because the librarian helps them remember “what life was like before.” A closing note about the “senseless violence of war” states that this tale was inspired by the cellist who serenaded Sarajevo after the bombing of a bakery and by the destruction of libraries in Baghdad in the 13th century. The book’s palette is primarily a slate gray, save for pops of color in the child’s bright mustard sweater and the librarian’s flowing rose-colored scarf; the palette brightens when the librarian’s words stir the imaginations of the children. Though most townsfolk are pale-skinned, the librarian is a woman of color. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.5-by-22.2-inch double-page spreads viewed at 95% of actual size.)

An earnest tale about the power of story. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-57687-945-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: POW!

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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From the Cavemice series , Vol. 1

Warp back in time for a prehistoric spinoff adventure with Geronimo Stilton’s ancestor, Geronimo Stiltonoot, in Old Mouse City.

Readers will find Geronimo Stiltonoot a familiar character, outfitted differently from descendant Stilton yet still running a newspaper and having wild adventures. In this introduction to prehistoric mouse life, someone has stolen the most powerful and important artifact housed by the Old Mouse City Mouseum: the Stone of Fire. It’s up to Stiltonoot and his fellow sleuth and friend, Hercule Poirat, to uncover not only the theft, but a dangerous plot that jeopardizes all of Old Mouse City. As stand-ins for the rest of the Stilton cast, Stiltonoot has in common with Stilton a cousin named Trap, a sister named Thea and a nephew named Benjamin. The slapstick comedy and design, busy with type changes and color, will be familiar for Stilton readers. The world is fictionalized for comedic effect, featuring funny uses for dinosaurs and cheeky references to how far back in time they are, with only the occasional sidebar that presents facts. The story takes a bit long to get started, spending a lot of time reiterating the worldbuilding information laid out before the first chapter. But once it does start, it is an adventure Stilton readers will enjoy. Geronimo Stiltonoot has the right combination of familiarity and newness to satisfy Stilton fans. (Fiction. 6-10)


Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-44774-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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Celebrated collaborators deliver another thoughtful delight, revealing how “making marks” links us across time and space.


A trip to grandmother’s launches light-years beyond the routine sort, as a human child travels from deep space to Earth.

The light-skinned, redheaded narrator journeys alone as flight attendants supply snacks to diverse, interspecies passengers. The kid muses, “Sometimes they ask me, ‘Why are you always going to the farthest planet?’ ”The response comes after the traveler hurtles through the solar system, lands, and levitates up to the platform where a welcoming grandmother waits: “Because it’s worth it / to cross one universe / to explore another.” Indeed, child and grandmother enter an egg-shaped, clear-domed orb and fly over a teeming savanna and a towering waterfall before disembarking, donning headlamps, and entering a cave. Inside, the pair marvel at a human handprint and ancient paintings of animals including horses, bison, and horned rhinoceroses. Yockteng’s skilled, vigorously shaded pictures suggest references to images found in Lascaux and Chauvet Cave in France. As the holiday winds down, grandmother gives the protagonist some colored pencils that had belonged to grandfather generations back. (She appears to chuckle over a nude portrait of her younger self.) The pencils “were good for making marks on paper. She gave me that too.” The child draws during the return trip, documenting the visit and sights along the journey home. “Because what I could see was infinity.” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.8-by-19.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 85% of actual size.)

Celebrated collaborators deliver another thoughtful delight, revealing how “making marks” links us across time and space. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77306-172-6

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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