A CHILD OF BOOKS

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

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 27, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

I WISH YOU MORE

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

JAKE THE FAKE KEEPS IT REAL

From the Jake the Fake series , Vol. 1

A fast and funny alternative to the Wimpy Kid.

Black sixth-grader Jake Liston can only play one song on the piano. He can’t read music very well, and he can’t improvise. So how did Jake get accepted to the Music and Art Academy? He faked it.

Alongside an eclectic group of academy classmates, and with advice from his best friend, Jake tries to fit in at a school where things like garbage sculpting and writing art reviews of bird poop splatter are the norm. All is well until Jake discovers that the end-of-the-semester talent show is only two weeks away, and Jake is short one very important thing…talent. Or is he? It’s up to Jake to either find the talent that lies within or embarrass himself in front of the entire school. Light and humorous, with Knight’s illustrations adding to the fun, Jake’s story will likely appeal to many middle-grade readers, especially those who might otherwise be reluctant to pick up a book. While the artsy antics may be over-the-top at times, this is a story about something that most preteens can relate to: the struggle to find your authentic self. And in a world filled with books about wanting to fit in with the athletically gifted supercliques, this novel unabashedly celebrates the artsy crowd in all of its quirky, creative glory.

A fast and funny alternative to the Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-52351-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

Close Quickview