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In his last finished work, Sendak tips a cap to intellectual and artistic influences, but he puts his own unique stamp on a lyrical flight that looks toward a reunion with Jack, his long-dead brother.

As vivid and surreal as a dream, the narrative begins with the separation of Jack—catapulted to “continents of ice” where “[h]is poor nose froze”—and Guy, who lands “[o]n soft Bohemia” to be consumed by a hulking bear after posing his brother’s fate as a “sad riddle.” “Diving through time so vast—sweeping past paradise,” Guy emerges at last into a mystical springtime where he finds Jack entwined in roots and “veiled blossoms.” Guy bites Jack’s nose “to be sure” and hearing his brother’s sighed “Just lost—when I am saved!” enfolds him tenderly, whispering “Good night / And you will dream of me.” In the small, loosely brushed paintings on each facing page, he depicts the brothers, reminiscent of William Blake’s diaphanously gowned figures. Befitting the surreal textual imagery, they float in twisted postures amid stars and organic billows of moonlit clouds and landscape or lie together beneath canopies of greenery. The literary references (to Shakespeare, Keats, Emily Dickinson and others) may escape many, but they are secondary to the book’s impact. The sharply felt humor and yearning that infuse both the verbal and visual narratives will kindle profound emotional responses in hearts of any age. (introduction by Stephen Greenblatt) (Illustrated poem. All ages)


Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-223489-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Michael di Capua/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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A satisfying story of family, friendship and small-town cooperation in a 21st-century world.

Sent to stay with octogenarian relatives for the summer, 14-year-old Mike ends up coordinating a community drive to raise $40,000 for the adoption of a Romanian orphan. He’ll never be his dad's kind of engineer, but he learns he’s great at human engineering.

Mike’s math learning disability is matched by his widower father's lack of social competence; the Giant Genius can’t even reliably remember his son’s name. Like many of the folks the boy comes to know in Do Over, Penn.—his great-uncle Poppy silent in his chair, the multiply pierced-and-tattooed Gladys from the bank and “a homeless guy” who calls himself Past—Mike feels like a failure. But in spite of his own lack of confidence, he provides the kick start they need to cope with their losses and contribute to the campaign. Using the Internet (especially YouTube), Mike makes use of town talents and his own webpage design skills and entrepreneurial imagination. Math-definition chapter headings (Compatible Numbers, Zero Property, Tessellations) turn out to apply well to human actions in this well-paced, first-person narrative. Erskine described Asperger’s syndrome from the inside in Mockingbird (2010). Here, it’s a likely cause for the rift between father and son touchingly mended at the novel's cinematic conclusion.

A satisfying story of family, friendship and small-town cooperation in a 21st-century world. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: June 9, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25505-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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Ephemeral—unlike the art here (some of it, at least) and those fondly remembered little books.

Chicken soup for fans of Golden Books, from the line’s editorial director.

Reasoning that hard times have come to America (“The chickens have come home to roost, and their names are Debt, Depression, and Diabetes”), Muldrow offers this book as palliative. She gathers single illustrations from 61 Little Golden Books and adds pithy captions as anodynes, such as “Don’t panic…” (beneath Tibor Gergely’s 1948 image of a dismayed child holding detached braids) or “Have some pancakes” (Richard Scarry, 1949). Though some of her advice has a modern inflection (“Don’t forget your antioxidants!”), the pictures all come from titles published between 1942 and 1964 and so, despite the great diversity of artistic styles, have a quaint period look. Not to mention quaint period values, from views of apron-wearing housewives and pipe-smoking men (or bears) to, with but two exceptions, an all-white cast of humans. Furthermore, despite the title’s implication, the exhortations don’t always reflect the original story’s lesson or theme; rather than “Make a budget—and stick to it!” the lad in Miriam Young’s 5 Pennies To Spend (illustrated by Corinne Malvern, 1955) actually used his hoard to help others in need.

Ephemeral—unlike the art here (some of it, at least) and those fondly remembered little books. (Picture book. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-97761-8

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Golden Books/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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