Though the art has its charms, the story, wordless as it is, unsettles.

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THE LINE

A wordless tale with a trick ending.

The art is designed to look childlike: A small girl with a carrot-shaped nose and a red dress colored outside its contours finds a line and picks it up. She shakes it into squiggles, a slide, then into a hoop that she rolls herself in. She blows bubbles with it and even turns it into an audience while she performs upside down. But then the audience morphs into a beast that threatens her, and a tear appears on her cheek. However, another creature made from that line appears behind her and chases off the beast. Her rescuer turns out to be a teddy bear, and the girl is emboldened to stick her tongue out at the departing beastie. All this plays out on smudged grayish white paper on which only the line in its many transformations and the little girl appear—until the last frame, in which readers see a small boy in a blue shirt, with a pencil, chuckling to himself. Has he made all the line drawings? Or only the menacing ones and perhaps the rescue teddy bear? Is the girl in control of her activity and imagination, or has the boy been managing all this mischief? What seemed to start as a lively and empowering sketch of imaginative play devolves into a distressingly manipulative scenario.

Though the art has its charms, the story, wordless as it is, unsettles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-894786-84-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life.

¡VAMOS! LET'S GO TO THE MARKET

From the ¡Vamos! series

Little Lobo and his dog, Bernabé, journey through a Mexican mercado delivering diverse goods to a variety of booths.

With the aid of red words splattered throughout the spreads as labels, Raúl the Third gives an introduction to Spanish vocabulary as Little Lobo, an anthropomorphic wolf, leaves his house, fills his cart with objects from his warehouse, and delivers them to the market’s vendors. The journey also serves as a crash course in Mexican culture, as the images are packed with intertextual details such as food, traditional games, and characters, including Cantinflas, Frida Khalo, and Juan Gabriel. Readers acquainted with Raúl the Third’s characters from his Lowriders series with author Cathy Camper will appreciate cameos from familiar characters. As he makes his rounds, Little Lobo also collects different artifacts that people offer in exchange for his deliveries of shoe polish, clothespins, wood, tissue paper, paintbrushes, and a pair of golden laces. Although Raúl the Third departs from the ball-pen illustrations that he is known for, his depiction of creatures and critters peppering the borderland where his stories are set remains in his trademark style. The softer hues in the illustrations (chosen by colorist Bay) keep the busy compositions friendly, and the halftone patterns filling the illustrations create foregrounds and backgrounds reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein’s pointillism.

A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-55726-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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RAIN SCHOOL

It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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