A celebration of small miracles.

SEA GLASS SUMMER

“Some years ago, a boy named Thomas” spends a summer collecting fragments of sea glass and dreaming of their origins.

Photorealistic watercolor illustrations depict both mid-20th-century Maine’s dappled rocks, glinting waters, and lucid sunlight and also a grandmother’s entreating, tender smile and a grandson’s eager, earnest eyes. Thomas skips rocks and scans the shore, wholly absorbed in exploration, discovery, and imaginative play. His grandfather’s magnifying glass brings the bits and pieces given up by the ocean into focus. These masterful, moving watercolor pictures transmit feelings and features so faithfully they feel somehow deeply personal. The boy’s dreams, which trace his various sea-glass finds back to the events that made them shards in the ocean, appear as full-bleed, double-page spreads in gradations of gray. Even though set in the monochromatic past, these historical scenes (a ship’s christening, a schooner tossed in a tempest’s fury) still appear startlingly clear, specific, and realistic. Young readers might play with the idea that Thomas’ dreams transmit actual historical events, turning this inexplicable impossibility over in their minds again and again like a piece of glass tumbling in the tide. When a present-day girl hands her Papaw Tom a piece of clear sea glass she finds, one that could have come from a broken magnifying glass decades before, the past and present converge. Thomas and his family all present white.

A celebration of small miracles. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8443-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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This tale of self-acceptance and respect for one’s roots is breathtaking.

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EYES THAT KISS IN THE CORNERS

A young Chinese American girl sees more than the shape of her eyes.

In this circular tale, the unnamed narrator observes that some peers have “eyes like sapphire lagoons / with lashes like lace trim on ballgowns,” but her eyes are different. She “has eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea.” Author Ho’s lyrical narrative goes on to reveal how the girl’s eyes are like those of other women and girls in her family, expounding on how each pair of eyes looks and what they convey. Mama’s “eyes sparkl[e] like starlight,” telling the narrator, “I’m a miracle. / In those moments when she’s all mine.” Mama’s eyes, the girl observes, take after Amah’s. While she notes that her grandmother’s eyes “don’t work like they used to,” they are able to see “all the way into my heart” and tell her stories. Here, illustrator Ho’s spreads bloom with references to Chinese stories and landscapes. Amah’s eyes are like those of the narrator’s little sister. Mei-Mei’s eyes are filled with hope and with admiration for her sister. Illustrator Ho’s textured cartoons and clever use of light and shadow exude warmth and whimsy that match the evocative text. When the narrator comes to describe her own eyes and acknowledges the power they hold, she is posed against swirling patterns, figures, and swaths of breathtaking landscapes from Chinese culture. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 80.5% of actual size.)

This tale of self-acceptance and respect for one’s roots is breathtaking. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-291562-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse.

MEET THE BIGFEET

From the Yeti Files series , Vol. 1

It’s a Bigfeet family reunion!

Everyone’s favorite frosty, furry cryptid, the yeti, actually has a name: Blizz Richards. From his supersecret HQ in Nepal he keeps in touch with his fellow cryptids, all of whom have sworn an oath to keep themselves hidden. That’s not always easy, especially when there are cryptozoologists, like the nasty (but bumbling) George Vanquist, who are always trying to expose the secretive creatures. Vanquist got a picture of Blizz’s cousin Brian near his home in British Columbia, causing the mortified Brian to disappear entirely. When Blizz receives an invitation to a Bigfeet family reunion in Canada, he calls his buddies Alexander (one of Santa’s elves), Gunthar (a goblin) and Frank the Arctic fox to help him get ready. When they arrive in Canada, Brian is still nowhere to be seen. Can Blizz and his skunk ape and other sasquatch cousins find Brian, have the reunion and evade Vanquist? If anyone can, the Bigfeet clan can. Illustrator Sherry’s first volume in the Yeti Files is a fast and funny graphic-prose tale full of labeled pictures and comic-style panels. Those just starting chapter books may have some trouble with a few big words, but they’ll enjoy the big friendly monsters and immediately ask for the next tale—which looks to be about the Loch Ness monster.

Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-55617-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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