This is both a fascinating look at school around the world and a very subtle message to readers to appreciate what they have.

READ REVIEW

THE WAY TO SCHOOL

Riding the school bus will lose some of its allure and excitement but not its value for readers after seeing how kids around the world get to school.

McCarney points out that not all children who want to get an education are able to. But for those that can, getting there can be a challenge. Full-color photographs of children’s journeys fill the pages. These are labeled with the country, though the black text against mostly dark backgrounds makes them difficult (and a few times impossible) to read. The U.S. is first: a Caucasian boy with a backpack and lunchbox stretches a foot up to board an iconic bus. Some children in Cambodia and Indonesia use boats to get to school. In Nepal and Colombia, students may use a rope and a zip line–like apparatus to “fly across” obstacles. Donkeys, oxen, water buffalo, and dog teams play their parts, too. Beyond the sometimes-dangerous ways that kids travel around the world, what may strike readers the most is the lengths these kids will go to to learn: some carry their own water, as their schools lack this resource; others bring their own desks; and unstated but obvious from the pictures is that going to school in many countries requires a uniform, an added expense for poor families.

This is both a fascinating look at school around the world and a very subtle message to readers to appreciate what they have. (Informational picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-927583-78-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Second Story Press

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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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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