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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...

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. 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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Broccoli: No way is James going to eat broccoli. “It’s disgusting,” says James. Well then, James, says his father, let’s consider the alternatives: some wormy dirt, perhaps, some stinky socks, some pre-chewed gum? James reconsiders the broccoli, but—milk? “Blech,” says James. Right, says his father, who needs strong bones? You’ll be great at hide-and-seek, though not so great at baseball and kickball and even tickling the dog’s belly. James takes a mouthful. So it goes through lumpy oatmeal, mushroom lasagna and slimy eggs, with James’ father parrying his son’s every picky thrust. And it is fun, because the father’s retorts are so outlandish: the lasagna-making troll in the basement who will be sent back to the rat circus, there to endure the rodent’s vicious bites; the uneaten oatmeal that will grow and grow and probably devour the dog that the boy won’t be able to tickle any longer since his bones are so rubbery. Schneider’s watercolors catch the mood of gentle ribbing, the looks of bewilderment and surrender and the deadpanned malarkey. It all makes James’ father’s last urging—“I was just going to say that you might like them if you tried them”—wholly fresh and unexpected advice. (Early reader. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-547-14956-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.

A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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