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...

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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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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the...

CHARLIE BUMPERS VS. THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR

From the Charlie Bumpers series , Vol. 1

Charlie Bumpers is doomed. The one teacher he never wanted in the whole school turns out to be his fourth-grade teacher.

Charlie recalls third grade, when he accidentally hit the scariest teacher in the whole school with his sneaker. “I know all about you, Charlie Bumpers,” she says menacingly on the first day of fourth grade. Now, in addition to all the hardships of starting school, he has gotten off on the wrong foot with her. Charlie’s dry and dramatic narrative voice clearly reveals the inner life of a 9-year-old—the glass is always half empty, especially in light of a series of well-intentioned events gone awry. It’s quite a litany: “Hitting Mrs. Burke in the head with the sneaker. The messy desk. The swinging on the door. The toilet paper. And now this—the shoe on the roof.” Harley has teamed once again with illustrator Gustavson (Lost and Found, 2012) to create a real-life world in which a likable kid must face the everyday terrors of childhood: enormous bullies, looming teachers and thick gym coaches with huge pointing fingers. Into this series opener, Harley magically weaves the simple lesson that people, even teachers, can surprise you.

Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the sarcasm of Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-732-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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