SERAPHIN

A gorgeous but elusive import.

Dreamer Seraphin finds difficulty working and living in modern-day Paris.

After he’s fired from his job at the Metro, he lingers in the “sun-filled streets” and “parks resonant with birdsong.” Back home, Seraphin finds a letter: He’s inherited a crumbling mansion! A jovial narrator guides readers through this meandering story, Nicholson-Smith’s conversational translation retaining Gallic eloquence. English-speaking readers will marvel at lithe turns of phrase: The “strange, harsh words” of the men who evict him to make way for new development “wounded him like so many poison arrows.” Readers will also fall under the spell of Fix’s inexhaustible imagination, transferred onto the page as immense, richly detailed, golden-hued watercolor-and-ink illustrations. Only older readers could consume the entire narrative start to finish in one sitting, however, and many might find Seraphin, a middle-aged, pale-skinned innocent whose only friends are a round boy named Plume and a pet hamster called Hercules, a bit bizarre. Christian culture casts seraphim as angels associated with purity and light, and while Seraphin is similarly guileless and radiant, he also seems somewhat strange, making rounds with a peddler’s cart of toys—inventions to attract and entice a group of exclusively white children.

A gorgeous but elusive import. (Picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-939810-25-0

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Elsewhere Editions

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

GHOSTS

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Close Quickview