An expertly crafted story recognizing the power of humanity amid the life-altering tragedy of war.

HOW WAR CHANGED RONDO

A vibrant, artistic town is changed forever.

Danko (a light bulb), Fabian (a pink balloon dog), and Zirka (an origami bird) love their idyllic town of Rondo, famous for its singing flowers. The friends are happy until the terrifying and faceless War arrives and plants seeds of fear that grow into black flowers and prickly weeds, blocking out the light and silencing the wonderful singing flowers. The trio fails to reason with War and fights back with violence. At last, they galvanize the townspeople to work together to build a “huge light machine” that defeats the darkness of War. Rondo is rebuilt, but every person has been changed, scarred, injured, and red poppies spring up in places touched by War. Translated from the original Ukrainian, this allegorical picture book was originally published following the 2013-14 conflicts in Ukraine. Avoiding references to cultural or geographical markers, the universal story deftly highlights the importance of each person doing their part to battle darkness. The descriptive, lyrical text realistically depicts the impacts of war, and the visual juxtaposition of an imaginative, bright, colorful world and its war-ravaged aftermath is stark. Collage elements convey fragility and resilience in surprising yet visceral ways. Most characters are bipedal, and the three protagonists use gendered pronouns. Externally, characters are depicted in a variety of nonhuman colors (patterned, blue, green, bright white, pink). (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An expertly crafted story recognizing the power of humanity amid the life-altering tragedy of war. (Picture book. 5-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-59270-367-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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