A humorous tale that encourages stepping out into the unknown, even if it’s scary (Picture book. 4-8)

LEMON CHILD

A stubborn lemon realizes the world beyond his tree is worth exploring.

High in the boughs of the mother lemon tree, the tiny lemon children joyfully bounce and giggle, talk and sing, looking forward to turning yellow. But not Tony, a “pretty miserable lemon” who prefers to stay in the shade, hoping to retain his lime-green complexion. The target of his siblings’ constant rhyming taunts, Tony continues to sour. Soon all the other lemons are bright yellow and ripe, and Tony is abandoned as they jump from the tree into the world. Stubborn and lonely, Tony is visited by several wild animals who help him gain the courage to take a leap of faith, but is it too late? Translated from the German, Brönner’s third-person narrative is lively and descriptive. The story’s message is conveyed with a light comedic tone that deftly avoids veering into the pedantic. Dialogue, presented in hand-lettered, underlined text placed near the speaker, provides much of the sophisticated humor. The painterly illustrations employ a vibrant color palette, reminiscent of Brian Wildsmith’s style. The lemons, including Tony, have personality to spare, with spindly limbs, tiny eyes, full sets of teeth, and extremely long noses. Although the ending feels slightly too quiet after the book’s dramatic buildup, late bloomers will relate to Tony’s feelings.

A humorous tale that encourages stepping out into the unknown, even if it’s scary (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4418-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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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