THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN OF BOOKS IN THE WORLD

Kids will appreciate Lucas’ need to read and imagine and also understand the message that there is more than one way to fly.

A picture-book homage to reading.

From his earliest days Lucas is determined to fly. The little white boy spends hours watching birds and airplanes when he’s not trying to make wings for himself—they never work. Every year on his birthday he makes the same wish with no results—until the year his mother puts a book in his hands. “There are other ways to fly, Lucas.” And he’s hooked. Before he knows it, he’s finished all the books in the house, all of the books friends give him, and vans full of books from the library. His sky-high stack of books grows higher and higher, and he becomes famous. People come from all over to see the highest mountain of books in the world. Then one day, all of a sudden, Lucas understands what his mother meant! Even though he can’t fly, his imagination can. The airy illustrations are whimsical, capturing the sensation of flying in softly colored double spreads. Subtle details add to the drollness: a birthday crown made of newsprint and Scotch tape, his sister picking her nose, underwear briefs hanging on a clothesline, a gorilla climbing the pile of books à la King Kong, and a gray cat popping in and out of the scenes.

Kids will appreciate Lucas’ need to read and imagine and also understand the message that there is more than one way to fly. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4413-1999-9

Page Count: 42

Publisher: Peter Pauper Press

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

HOW TO CATCH A GINGERBREAD MAN

From the How To Catch… series

A brisk if bland offering for series fans, but cleverer metafictive romps abound.

The titular cookie runs off the page at a bookstore storytime, pursued by young listeners and literary characters.

Following on 13 previous How To Catch… escapades, Wallace supplies sometimes-tortured doggerel and Elkerton, a set of helter-skelter cartoon scenes. Here the insouciant narrator scampers through aisles, avoiding a series of elaborate snares set by the racially diverse young storytime audience with help from some classic figures: “Alice and her mad-hat friends, / as a gift for my unbirthday, / helped guide me through the walls of shelves— / now I’m bound to find my way.” The literary helpers don’t look like their conventional or Disney counterparts in the illustrations, but all are clearly identified by at least a broad hint or visual cue, like the unnamed “wizard” who swoops in on a broom to knock over a tower labeled “Frogwarts.” Along with playing a bit fast and loose with details (“Perhaps the boy with the magic beans / saved me with his cow…”) the author discards his original’s lip-smacking climax to have the errant snack circling back at last to his book for a comfier sort of happily-ever-after.

A brisk if bland offering for series fans, but cleverer metafictive romps abound. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-0935-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

Awards & Accolades

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2022


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • Caldecott Honor

KNIGHT OWL

A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2022


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • Caldecott Honor

A young owl achieves his grand ambition.

Owl, an adorably earnest and gallant little owlet, dreams of being a knight. He imagines himself defeating dragons and winning favor far and wide through his brave exploits. When a record number of knights go missing, Owl applies to Knight School and is surprisingly accepted. He is much smaller than the other knights-in-training, struggles to wield weapons, and has “a habit of nodding off during the day.” Nevertheless, he graduates and is assigned to the Knight Night Watch. While patrolling the castle walls one night, a hungry dragon shows up and Owl must use his wits to avoid meeting a terrible end. The result is both humorous and heartwarming, offering an affirmation of courage and clear thinking no matter one’s size…and demonstrating the power of a midnight snack. The story never directly addresses the question of the missing knights, but it is hinted that they became the dragon’s fodder, leaving readers to question Owl’s decision to befriend the beast. Humor is supplied by the characters’ facial expressions and accented by the fact that Owl is the only animal in his order of big, burly human knights. Denise’s accomplished digital illustrations—many of which are full bleeds—often use a warm sepia palette that evokes a feeling of antiquity, and some spreads feature a pleasing play of chiaroscuro that creates suspense and drama.

A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-31062-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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