With great respect for the past, this edition succeeds in bringing the illustrations into the present.

STORIES FOR CHILDREN

Three of Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales for children are republished with gorgeous original art by Robinson.

It would be a loss for contemporary children not to have these stories: “The Happy Prince,” who sacrifices his entire self to save those who need saving, with the help of a little bird; “The Nightingale and the Rose,” another tale of love and sacrifice; and “The Selfish Giant,” with its beautiful images of a garden of delight and a child savior. The language is stately and the tales, moral and sentimental, but at their cores, they are about love and how love behaves. The pairings of story and art glow with the truth that love knows no boundaries. The 1888 art is beautifully reproduced in full pages, while the linear, originally black-and-white images have been washed with color. The latter is always a chancy business, as the book’s designer, Emma Byrne, acknowledges: “[T]his is a tightrope act, as it is important not to destroy the integrity of the fine linework.” It does not seem meretricious in this case; the result is lovely. This is full-blown art nouveau: The watercolors are voluptuous in their sinuous line and delicacy of hue, and even the text pages have shadow patterns beneath their lovely type. Chaste biographies of Wilde and Robinson are appended.

With great respect for the past, this edition succeeds in bringing the illustrations into the present. (Fairy tales. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-84717-589-2

Page Count: 76

Publisher: O'Brien Press/Dufour Editions

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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