A touching story about imagination bringing a parent and child closer together.

I DIDN'T ASK TO BE CREATIVE

A boy tries to help his mother find her lost creativity in this debut rhyming picture book.

One day, Kyle and his grandfather find an old box the boy’s mother threw away and turn it into the basis for an imaginary submarine. “A submarine? Is that what it is? I never would have guessed,” Kyle’s mother asserts. After hearing from his grandfather that his mother used to be artistic, Kyle starts making plans to help her find her lost creativity by sharing how he sees the world. The next day, Kyle spends the day with his mother, telling her how even when they are doing errands, they could be rock stars, pirates, royalty, or astronauts. Eventually, Kyle gives up, but when all the chores are done, his mother makes him a surprise decoration to show him she cares. In this moving tale, Pittman deftly captures the way imaginative kids perceive their surroundings as well as the busy sense of urgency many adults have when they feel they don’t have time for creativity. But the rhyming text is laid out in chunky blocks, sometimes making the phrases and rhythms difficult to spot. Rambaldi’s beautiful, detailed, painterly illustrations depict Kyle’s family members with slightly different shades of brown skin. The images alternate Kyle’s imagined world with his mother’s firm reality until both unite at the end.

A touching story about imagination bringing a parent and child closer together.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-578-57620-6

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Cardboard Clouds

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

HOME

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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