THE LONGEST WAIT

During a treacherous winter storm, a family anxiously waits for their mail-carrier father to come home. In a unique and effective design, readers are also held in suspense, anticipating the title page, which appears on the eighth page of the story, after the tension is built. The mother “worries up” some rolls in the kitchen while the protagonist, Thomas, stares out the window and looks forward to his father’s return with visions of together-time playing in the snow. But when the father comes home, he is ill. The family tends to him, riveted by his tales of braving the storm; although he cannot participate in snowball fights or sledding, the children are happy that he’s safely home where he belongs. Catalanotto combines winter watercolors and pencil to create contrasts in the cozy safety of home and the chilling blizzard outside; above full-color scenes of the family are two-color visions, realistic (playing in the snow) and imaginary (an angel speeding the father home). Through the narrative and illustration technique, two stories emerge—one of family togetherness, and another of a dedicated, hardworking hero. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-531-06871-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1998

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THE BOY WHO LOVED WORDS

A charmingly prolix tall tale of a boy so word-obsessed that he collects new words on slips of paper. They bulge from his pockets, float around his head and fill his world. Classmates nickname Selig “Wordsworth” and give him a word for his collection: “oddball.” The discovery that his purpose in life is to share his carefully chosen words with others leads to success and love. And, “if, one day, . . . the perfect word just seems to come to you . . . you’ll know that Selig is near.” Schotter’s words are enlivened by Potter’s distinctively naïve figures, all placed in settings in which words and labels are scattered about in a way that invites close inspection and promotes purposeful inquiry. It all adds up to an *exultant encounter, chockablock with tintinnabulating gusto (*see tantalizing glossary appended). A gift to precocious children and teachers as well. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 28, 2006

ISBN: 0-375-83601-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2006

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

A WORLD TOGETHER

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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