Here’s hoping Peter’s next outing (Peter and the Seal, 2012) will be better executed and edited.

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PETER AND THE WINTER SLEEPERS

This misleadingly titled Dutch import mixes a mediocre storyline with some inconsistent tongue-in-cheek visual humor.

Peter is at first thrilled when snow falls around the lighthouse where he lives with his grandmother and dog, Leo. He spends the day crafting some pretty humorous anatomically correct snow figures. But toward evening, the snow picks up again and shows no sign of letting up, so Grandma brings in the goat and chicken. The next day, with the snow a wall outside the door, the titular “winter sleepers” start arriving for shelter: a rabbit, an owl, hedgehogs, a bat and other critters. They are more guests than the hibernators the title suggests; Peter only wishes these new animals all slept at night. After several chaotic days of picking up after them, the arrival of a final guest, a fox, sends Peter into a panic when Gull goes missing. All turns out for the best, though, and slowly but surely the winter sleepers return to nature, leaving only the fox in Leo’s dog bed. Unfortunately, uneven pacing is not the text’s worst flaw—Peter’s name reverts to the original, Dutch “Elmo” on a center page, leaving readers puzzled and breaking the flow of the story. The hints of humor found in de Haas’ vigorous watercolors might have the power to overcome the text’s weaknesses, but they are not consistent, starting strong but petering out toward the end.

Here’s hoping Peter’s next outing (Peter and the Seal, 2012) will be better executed and edited. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4033-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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A validating and breathtaking next chapter of a Mother Goose favorite.

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AFTER THE FALL (HOW HUMPTY DUMPTY GOT BACK UP AGAIN)

Humpty Dumpty, classically portrayed as an egg, recounts what happened after he fell off the wall in Santat’s latest.

An avid ornithophile, Humpty had loved being atop a high wall to be close to the birds, but after his fall and reassembly by the king’s men, high places—even his lofted bed—become intolerable. As he puts it, “There were some parts that couldn’t be healed with bandages and glue.” Although fear bars Humpty from many of his passions, it is the birds he misses the most, and he painstakingly builds (after several papercut-punctuated attempts) a beautiful paper plane to fly among them. But when the plane lands on the very wall Humpty has so doggedly been avoiding, he faces the choice of continuing to follow his fear or to break free of it, which he does, going from cracked egg to powerful flight in a sequence of stunning spreads. Santat applies his considerable talent for intertwining visual and textual, whimsy and gravity to his consideration of trauma and the oft-overlooked importance of self-determined recovery. While this newest addition to Santat’s successes will inevitably (and deservedly) be lauded, younger readers may not notice the de-emphasis of an equally important part of recovery: that it is not compulsory—it is OK not to be OK.

A validating and breathtaking next chapter of a Mother Goose favorite. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-682-6

Page Count: 45

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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