Despite a few problems, Paolo's story is presented dynamically enough to keep even non-Francophile readers engaged.

A boy's loneliness in a new home is cured in unexpected ways when writings of his get loose in this ode to passionate young writers.

One day, the books on Paolo's bookshelf take flight, including the titular book, a special volume "where he writes down his secret words and precious POEMS." Paolo is despondent about the loss, but some of the books that escaped find their ways into the hands of various kids around town, who seek out Paolo and befriend him. The Butterfly Book captures the imagination of a young girl named Lilly, who becomes Paolo's first—and biggest—fan and critic. While the music seems pulled from public-domain sources, the detailed artwork and fluid animation enliven what could have been a visually uninteresting story about the power of writing. Instead, the artwork pops, sometimes appearing as comic book–style panels, other times using the entire page to present an outdoor scene. The text's translation from French is rough, with plenty of extra exclamation points, though an alphabet-book portion becomes something of a value-added French primer. Even after selecting English as the language, the French version of the text still appears in an introductory page and on some pages when viewing the visual table of contents.

Despite a few problems, Paolo's story is presented dynamically enough to keep even non-Francophile readers engaged. (iPad storybook app. 5-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014


Page Count: -

Publisher: La Souris Qui Raconte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014


From the Otis series

Continuing to find inspiration in the work of Virginia Lee Burton, Munro Leaf and other illustrators of the past, Long (The Little Engine That Could, 2005) offers an aw-shucks friendship tale that features a small but hardworking tractor (“putt puff puttedy chuff”) with a Little Toot–style face and a big-eared young descendant of Ferdinand the bull who gets stuck in deep, gooey mud. After the big new yellow tractor, crowds of overalls-clad locals and a red fire engine all fail to pull her out, the little tractor (who had been left behind the barn to rust after the arrival of the new tractor) comes putt-puff-puttedy-chuff-ing down the hill to entice his terrified bovine buddy successfully back to dry ground. Short on internal logic but long on creamy scenes of calf and tractor either gamboling energetically with a gaggle of McCloskey-like geese through neutral-toned fields or resting peacefully in the shade of a gnarled tree (apple, not cork), the episode will certainly draw nostalgic adults. Considering the author’s track record and influences, it may find a welcome from younger audiences too. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-399-25248-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2009


From the How To Catch… series

Only for dedicated fans of the series.

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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