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

MOMENT

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 handful of pearls amid a pile of empty oyster shells.

THE COMFORT BOOK

Bestselling author Haig offers a book’s worth of apothegms to serve as guides to issues ranging from disquietude to self-acceptance.

Like many collections of this sort—terse snippets of advice, from the everyday to the cosmic—some parts will hit home with surprising insight, some will feel like old hat, and others will come across as disposable or incomprehensible. Years ago, Haig experienced an extended period of suicidal depression, so he comes at many of these topics—pain, hope, self-worth, contentment—from a hard-won perspective. This makes some of the material worthy of a second look, even when it feels runic or contrary to experience. The author’s words are instigations, hopeful first steps toward illumination. Most chapters are only a few sentences long, the longest running for three pages. Much is left unsaid and left up to readers to dissect. On being lost, Haig recounts an episode with his father when they got turned around in a forest in France. His father said to him, “If we keep going in a straight line we’ll get out of here.” He was correct, a bit of wisdom Haig turned to during his depression when he focused on moving forward: “It is important to remember the bottom of the valley never has the clearest view. And that sometimes all you need to do in order to rise up again is to keep moving forward.” Many aphorisms sound right, if hardly groundbreaking—e.g., a quick route to happiness is making someone else happy; “No is a good word. It keeps you sane. In an age of overload, no is really yes. It is yes to having space you need to live”; “External events are neutral. They only gain positive or negative value the moment they enter our mind.” Haig’s fans may enjoy this one, but others should take a pass.

A handful of pearls amid a pile of empty oyster shells.

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-14-313666-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Penguin Life

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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

A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

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. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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