A charming carpe diem tale for readers of all ages.

FIFTEEN FEET OF TIME

A PICTURE STORY BY LENA HESSE AND PHILIPP WINTERBERG

In this whimsical debut picture book translated from the German, Hesse and Winterberg implore young and adult readers alike to embrace what they love to do.

The authors tackle the theme of what people can do when they’re true to themselves. Playing to this idea, they show characters forgoing mundane routines and defying expectations. For instance, while stuck in traffic, a weather-forecasting frog on his way to a TV studio “was about to honk his horn” when he saw the sun rising in his rearview mirror. “He frowned and thought to himself…I’ve been doing this for so long now that I can’t even recall the last time that I actually felt and enjoyed the weather.” Breaking from his routine, he climbs to the highest rooftop of a nearby building to bask in the sun. Meanwhile, an Italian violin famous throughout the land decides to perform spontaneously while standing on top of her limousine, dazzling her fellow commuters sitting in traffic. Close by, two penguins on their way to work in the city’s casino spot a large spider knitting outside her window and implore her to make them a hammock, “[s]o we can put it up over the street and sit in it! And listen to the violin play and enjoy the sun.” In the end, the story shows how small acts of joy can inspire others. Throughout, Hesse’s mixed-media illustrations will delight both children and adult readers; her picture of an overweight businessman sporting a tie emblazoned with Chinese text and an older woman wearing “recycled” clothes, for example, provides priceless commentary on how the rich and elderly are valued in today’s global economy. Readers will also appreciate the fantastic illustrations of card-playing penguins and a firefighting gargoyle, despite the muted earth tones used throughout. Although the English translation is stilted at times, readers will still find it easy to appreciate the universal themes in this clever picture book.

A charming carpe diem tale for readers of all ages. 

Pub Date: March 30, 2013

ISBN: 978-1483987613

Page Count: 32

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2014

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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I AM NOT GOING TO GET UP TODAY!

After an eight-year interval, a Beginner Book by this well-loved originator of the series is welcome; and since Seuss hasn't chosen to illustrate it himself, we are lucky to have Stevenson as alternate. In the familiar Seuss pattern of a simple premise exaggerated to comic effect, a boy declares, "My bed is warm. My pillow's deep. Today's the day I'm going to sleep"—regardless of his mother, various arguments, successive waves of reinforcements, including the Marines, and a TV crew filming the momentous event. Actually, the development of the idea is a little tame compared with Seuss' other extravaganzas (and such determined all-day slumber is more the province of teen-agers and the good doctor's contemporaries than of readers at this level); but the book is delightfully enlivened by Stevenson's vigorous illustrations, which considerably augment the text by showing the full extent of the consternation caused by the hero's stubborness. Though there is plenty of the repetition required by learning readers, there are also some unusual words like Memphis, suggesting that this is not the easiest easy reader; but it has enough appeal to keep beginners entertained.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 1987

ISBN: 0394892178

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1987

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