MY LIFE WITH THE WAVE

An outlandish and original tale by Paz (for adults, In Light of India, 1997, etc.) is cut and pressed into the picture-book format, for which Buehner provides wild images and, with Cowan, a humorous ending. A boy of about eight falls in love with the waves on his first trip to the seashore, and so takes one home. Fearing that the wave will be forbidden to board the train, he carries it aboard ``cup by small cup'' and hides ``her'' in the watercooler. At home, the wave rushes into the house, knocking over furniture, sending the cat screeching, and providing destructive merriment in the boy's room. ``If I caught and hugged her, she would rise up tall like a liquid tree, then burst into a shower and bathe me in her foam''—not a typical picture-book text, and adults may read more into those lines than Cowan intends. Like a sulky mistress, the wave begins to ignore the boy, and its amusing qualities wane. The family abandons the house with the wave inside; in winter it turns to ice and is easily returned to the ocean. The boy dreamily believes that he will have better luck with a cloud, but Buehner's last illustration—in which an anthropomorphic cloud emits lightning bolts—certainly does not bode well. Beyond the subtext, the story is full of drama; its fresh subject and boisterous improbabilities beckon. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-688-12660-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1997

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NO MATTER WHAT

Small, a very little fox, needs some reassurance from Large in the unconditional love department. If he is grim and grumpy, will he still be loved? “ ‘Oh, Small,’ said Large, ‘grumpy or not, I’ll always love you, no matter what.’ “ So it goes, in a gentle rhyme, as Large parries any number of questions that for Small are very telling. What if he were to turn into a young bear, or squishy bug, or alligator? Would a mother want to hug and hold these fearsome animals? Yes, yes, answers Large. “But does love wear out? Does it break or bend? Can you fix it or patch it? Does it mend?” There is comfort in Gliori’s pages, but it is a result of repetition and not the imagery; this is a quick fix, not an enduring one, but it eases Small’s fears and may well do the same for children. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202061-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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Accessible, reassuring and hopeful.

THE INVISIBLE BOY

This endearing picture book about a timid boy who longs to belong has an agenda but delivers its message with great sensitivity.

Brian wants to join in but is overlooked, even ostracized, by his classmates. Readers first see him alone on the front endpapers, drawing in chalk on the ground. The school scenarios are uncomfortably familiar: High-maintenance children get the teacher’s attention; team captains choose kickball players by popularity and athletic ability; chatter about birthday parties indicates they are not inclusive events. Tender illustrations rendered in glowing hues capture Brian’s isolation deftly; compared to the others and his surroundings, he appears in black and white. What saves Brian is his creativity. As he draws, Brian imagines amazing stories, including a poignant one about a superhero with the power to make friends. When a new boy takes some ribbing, it is Brian who leaves an illustrated note to make him feel better. The boy does not forget this gesture. It only takes one person noticing Brian for the others to see his talents have value; that he has something to contribute. Brian’s colors pop. In the closing endpapers, Brian’s classmates are spread around him on the ground, “wearing” his chalk-drawn wings and capes. Use this to start a discussion: The author includes suggested questions and recommended reading lists for adults and children.

Accessible, reassuring and hopeful. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-582-46450-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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