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MOMENT

While some images prove banal, this work offers plenty of captivating photos.

A debut photography book features people from around the world.

Abad explains in the introduction to this collection of photographs that the main goal is to show kids “the world from a unique global perspective—through candid ‘moments’ in the daily lives of children from other countries.” In the pages that follow, images depict cities as disparate as Shanghai and Santiago, Chile. As the introduction suggests, most (though not all) of the photos tend to show ordinary people (particularly children) doing ordinary things. In Mexico City, a boy walks with his mother in front of a small food stand. In Kazakhstan, a girl presumably waits for a school bus. In Odisha, India, children play in the ocean. In Shanghai, people participate in what appears to be a snowball fight. Interspersed on pages between photos are a number of quotes. Some are famous, some less so. These include a statement from Salman Rushdie (“The only people who see the whole picture are the ones who step out of the frame”) and an anonymous Asian proverb (“Only he that has traveled the road knows where the holes are deep”). In some places, readers are left to decipher what exactly is going on. In a picture of four young boys in Shanghai, one lies on the ground. Has the boy been hit? Are they playing some kind of game? While the circumstances are unclear, the photo shows an intriguing day for these children. Such casual shots make for the most thoughtful images. But some pictures have a generic quality. A photo of the Great Wall of China looks like many other shots of the landmark. Images of Havana with old buildings and vintage cars do not add much nuance to the typical images of Cuba readers might expect. Yet taken as a whole, the photos certainly spark questions for children and adults alike. What is it like to have a snowball fight in China or to cavort in the sea in Odisha? The book makes it clear there is much in even the everyday world to discover.

While some images prove banal, this work offers plenty of captivating photos.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-578-77039-0

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2021

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A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

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The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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CALYPSO

Sedaris at his darkest—and his best.

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In which the veteran humorist enters middle age with fine snark but some trepidation as well.

Mortality is weighing on Sedaris (Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002, 2017, etc.), much of it his own, professional narcissist that he is. Watching an elderly man have a bowel accident on a plane, he dreaded the day when he would be the target of teenagers’ jokes “as they raise their phones to take my picture from behind.” A skin tumor troubled him, but so did the doctor who told him he couldn’t keep it once it was removed. “But it’s my tumor,” he insisted. “I made it.” (Eventually, he found a semitrained doctor to remove and give him the lipoma, which he proceeded to feed to a turtle.) The deaths of others are much on the author’s mind as well: He contemplates the suicide of his sister Tiffany, his alcoholic mother’s death, and his cantankerous father’s erratic behavior. His contemplation of his mother’s drinking—and his family’s denial of it—makes for some of the most poignant writing in the book: The sound of her putting ice in a rocks glass increasingly sounded “like a trigger being cocked.” Despite the gloom, however, frivolity still abides in the Sedaris clan. His summer home on the Carolina coast, which he dubbed the Sea Section, overspills with irreverent bantering between him and his siblings as his long-suffering partner, Hugh, looks on. Sedaris hasn’t lost his capacity for bemused observations of the people he encounters. For example, cashiers who say “have a blessed day” make him feel “like you’ve been sprayed against your will with God cologne.” But bad news has sharpened the author’s humor, and this book is defined by a persistent, engaging bafflement over how seriously or unseriously to take life when it’s increasingly filled with Trump and funerals.

Sedaris at his darkest—and his best.

Pub Date: May 29, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-39238-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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