A rare display of artistic invention, with rewards aplenty for close viewing.

A THOUSAND BILLION THINGS (AND SOME SHEEP)

A child’s world is brimming with choices—until it comes to bedtime.

The title seems hardly an exaggeration, as all but a small corner of each spread is jam-crammed full of tiny, nonrepeating images of foodstuffs and other (to use the French original’s term) “trucs” that a young, white narrator encounters while going from breakfast to dinner. Viewers willing to follow along will be confronted with challenges to pick out from the teeming pages six rubber ducks, a nibbled carrot, a frog mask, and like items. Perhaps even more compelling is the temptation to linger over each extravagant outpouring of tiny but finely drawn, individually distinct flora, fauna (the day’s round includes a visit to an aquarium), enticing toys, mouthwatering pastries, items of clothing, and more. Then, instead of options, bedtime brings only a gazillion all-too-similar sheep to count: “WHERE’S THE FUN IN THAT?” the narrator grumpily concludes. Many will agree, though an earlier “I wonder if all this choice is an eternal delight or an infernal torment” may prompt more-reflective sorts to wonder the same. Happily, to ease any incipient frustration, there is a visual key (sans a total for those sheep, though) at the end.

A rare display of artistic invention, with rewards aplenty for close viewing. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-910277-42-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Words & Pictures

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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Too thin to fly as either tour or tribute but a memorable showcase nonetheless for a talented French paper artist.

MARY POPPINS UP, UP AND AWAY

From the Up, Up and Away series

Silhouettes, both printed and laser-cut, add sparkle to a quick tour of London sites and starry skies conducted by Mary Poppins.

Michael and Jane are thrilled when their nanny (literally) drops in on the end of a kite string, and spit-spot they’re off to see Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Piccadilly—followed by an undersea visit and a flight through comet-filled skies to a circus of constellations. As the text, translated without credit from the original French, is confined to a few wooden couplets along the lines of “On Cherry Tree Lane, it’s a nice day to dream… / To walk in the park or to eat an ice cream,” the stars of the show are Druvert’s illustrations. The black, cut pages are designed to be flipped back and forth to fill in printed cityscapes, marine scenes, and speckled firmaments with fine detail. The marvelous intricacy of the cutout fences, ironwork, trees, strands of seaweed, and small human figures leaves those pages too fragile to survive even moderately careless handling intact, but the intensely black overlay (along with a subtle use of gray tones in the backgrounds) creates a sense of depth and, often, an evocative shimmer of light. A large die-cut window in the front cover offers a hint of the visual pleasures within.

Too thin to fly as either tour or tribute but a memorable showcase nonetheless for a talented French paper artist. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-500-65104-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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