An ingenious, confident, and pretty cool exploration of literary delight.

READ REVIEW

A CHILD OF BOOKS

A young girl reader helps a boy discover the imaginative art of stories in this insightful, intertextual ode to literary curiosity.

“I am a child of books. / I come from a world of stories.” So says the nameless girl narrator as she sits and reads on a raft that floats atop a sea made up of words from various classic books. She sails a wave and approaches an awestruck boy to whisk him away. Following a trail of words pulled from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland—an apt inclusion—the girl leads him into a world of adventures. Jeffers and Winston's mixed-media artwork, an inventive combination of watercolor, pencil, and digital collage, elicits strong notice from readers. Jeffers’ uneven, hand-lettered text contrasts dramatically with Winston’s digitally manipulated lines of classic prose. Collaged-in photos of actual books share space beside drawn buildings and act as tree trunks in a forest; sentences and lines taken from a diverse set of stories populate each spread, bowing to gravity or bursting from the world in unexpected ways. “For this is our world / we’ve made from stories…” sums it all up. Readers may find themselves smiling along. The girl wears her dark hair in pigtails and is depicted as either blue or paper-white, and the boy is also paper-white, with wavy, short hair.

An ingenious, confident, and pretty cool exploration of literary delight. (Picture book. 5-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9077-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

more