It’s been a hair over two decades since a new book by Anno (Anno’s Magic Seeds, 1995) last made its way to our shores; this...

ANNO'S CHINA

The Japanese master of quotidian detail takes readers up China’s Yellow River in this new book, first published in Japan in 2009.

Taking his inspiration from a 12th-century Chinese scroll, Anno presents some 20-plus wordless scenes that encompass both miles and centuries. Opening scenes depict a foggy morning, mist obscuring the riverbanks so boats float in negative space. As pages turn, the mists clear and readers see bustling villages teeming with activity: in one corner a small group practices meditative exercise; in another a house is razed; in yet another a heated game of table tennis takes place. At first glance, readers may feel they are in medieval China, as sailed vessels navigate the river, and horses, oxen, and humans pull carts. Readers who look closely, however, will notice the ubiquitous bicycles, and it becomes clear that Anno’s representation of time is elastic. One scene toward the end depicts the 1974 discovery of the famed terra-cotta army; another depicts present-day anti-desertification efforts on the Yellow Plateau—both with no machinery in sight. Several pages of notes explain the artist’s approach to these scenes, often comparing China’s culture to Japan’s—a valuable exercise in perspective for all readers.

It’s been a hair over two decades since a new book by Anno (Anno’s Magic Seeds, 1995) last made its way to our shores; this tour, breathtaking in its own right, is therefore doubly welcome . (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-893103-63-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Beautiful Feet

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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