As an album of the art form, impressive; as instruction in it, less so.

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SPELLBOUND

MAKING PICTURES WITH THE A-B-C

This large-format, 120-page Australian import is an exhaustive exposition of a unique art form, letter art.

In a two-page preface, Coote notes that the advent of the Apple Macintosh computer in the 1980s gave graphic designers access to a multitude of typefaces and the ability to freely manipulate letterforms to create “a kind of alphabetical sculpture, or pictorial anagram.” She defines her three rules for letter art by skill level. Beginners should use letters any way they choose; more-advanced practitioners should “use only the letters found in the correct spelling of the name” of their subject; and “Designers” should “use only the correct spelling and only one font per letter.” The book is divided into three sections: “Architext,” depicting architecture and famous monuments; “Alphabeasts,” showing a range of animals, complete with instructions and puzzles; and “Letterheads,” with instructions on how to portray facial features using letters along with skillful depictions of historical characters, artists, and showbiz personalities. (Frida Kahlo’s face lends itself well to this type of portrayal.) The visual puzzles are amusing and intriguing, but the text is written in a juvenile, "how to do it" mode, implying a level of practical potential that will ultimately disappoint many kids who would like to create these types of images, as most are unlikely to have the skills or technical resources required.

As an album of the art form, impressive; as instruction in it, less so. (Nonfiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9924917-2-7

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Melbournestyle Books/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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This can’t be the last we ever hear of the Legendary Alston Boys of the purely surreal Logan County—imaginative,...

THE LAST LAST-DAY-OF-SUMMER

From the Legendary Alston Boys series , Vol. 1

Can this really be the first time readers meet the Legendary Alston Boys of Logan County? Cousins and veteran sleuths Otto and Sheed Alston show us that we are the ones who are late to their greatness.

These two black boys are coming to terms with the end of their brave, heroic summer at Grandma’s, with a return to school just right around the corner. They’ve already got two keys to the city, but the rival Epic Ellisons—twin sisters Wiki and Leen—are steadily gaining celebrity across Logan County, Virginia, and have in hand their third key to the city. No way summer can end like this! These young people are powerful, courageous, experienced adventurers molded through their heroic commitment to discipline and deduction. They’ve got their shared, lifesaving maneuvers committed to memory (printed in a helpful appendix) and ready to save any day. Save the day they must, as a mysterious, bendy gentleman and an oversized, clingy platypus have been unleashed on the city of Fry, and all the residents and their belongings seem to be frozen in time and place. Will they be able to solve this one? With total mastery, Giles creates in Logan County an exuberant vortex of weirdness, where the commonplace sits cheek by jowl with the utterly fantastic, and populates it with memorable characters who more than live up to their setting.

This can’t be the last we ever hear of the Legendary Alston Boys of the purely surreal Logan County—imaginative, thrill-seeking readers, this is a series to look out for. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-46083-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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Light yet poignant, this multigenerational family tale shows age proves no barrier when it comes to offering solace

APPLESAUCE WEATHER

Young and old bridge the generational gap to find comfort amid loss.

With this slim offering, Frost returns to the novel in poems, though for a younger audience than the recent Salt (2014). Working with Bates, Frost presents middle-grade readers with white siblings Faith and Peter, who find themselves a bit lost, wondering if beloved Uncle Arthur, a gifted storyteller and trickster, will make the annual trek to visit them for the first apple harvest following his wife’s passing: “A smell in the air—if Lucy were here, / she’d breathe it deep. She’d smile wide. / That’s all it would take—we’d be on our way: / Applesauce weather, she’d say.” Aptly named Faith finds her hopes rewarded when, on the first apple’s dropping, Uncle Arthur shows up despite her mother’s and brother’s doubts and Arthur’s own hesitancy to return to a source of a lifetime of memories with Lucy. Throughout the tale, Bates’ evocative oil-based pencil drawings build on the intimacy of Frost’s narrative, deftly adding motion, whether it be in Faith’s wind-swept hair or Peter hanging upside down from a tree. Frost’s compact first-person poems shift in perspective from character to character, revealing the inner thoughts and feelings of each while simultaneously propelling the narrative and allowing for concise but realistic character development.

Light yet poignant, this multigenerational family tale shows age proves no barrier when it comes to offering solace . (Verse/fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7576-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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