Though the text makes few compromises to readers outside of its culture, the illustrations shine brightly for all.

CLOUDWALKER

This pourquoi tale from British Columbia’s Tahltan nation is greatly enhanced by vibrant, imaginative woodblock prints, one for every page of text.

Co-author and illustrator Vickers notes that this was a “short little story” when he first encountered it, but over the years, he learned more. Perhaps this is why some of the many interesting bits of Cloudwalker’s story do not quite coalesce. For example, early in the tale, there is a full paragraph about the “one thing Cloudwalker could not do.” The detailed description of his yearning for a life partner appears to be a plot point but is never again mentioned. The strength of the text lies in its ability to weave into this legend about the creation of three rivers facts about the natural resources of the region and the traditions of its native people. It is unfortunate that there is no appendix or glossary; some elements are explained, but readers outside the culture will likely not figure out the meaning of “potlatch” from this story’s context. And how should those readers pronounce “Ksien” and “Gitxsan” and “guloonich”? The artwork, in contrast, elegantly combines spiritual and physical worlds, partly by the use of pale, skeletal imagery over solid blocks of landscape and living figures.

Though the text makes few compromises to readers outside of its culture, the illustrations shine brightly for all. (Picture book/folk tale. 6-12)

Pub Date: July 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55107-619-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harbour Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent.

HORTON AND THE KWUGGERBUG AND MORE LOST STORIES

Published in magazines, never seen since / Now resurrected for pleasure intense / Versified episodes numbering four / Featuring Marco, and Horton and more!

All of the entries in this follow-up to The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories (2011) involve a certain amount of sharp dealing. Horton carries a Kwuggerbug through crocodile-infested waters and up a steep mountain because “a deal is a deal”—and then is cheated out of his promised share of delicious Beezlenuts. Officer Pat heads off escalating, imagined disasters on Mulberry Street by clubbing a pesky gnat. Marco (originally met on that same Mulberry Street) concocts a baroque excuse for being late to school. In the closer, a smooth-talking Grinch (not the green sort) sells a gullible Hoobub a piece of string. In a lively introduction, uber-fan Charles D. Cohen (The Seuss, The Whole Seuss, and Nothing but the Seuss, 2002) provides publishing histories, places characters and settings in Seussian context, and offers insights into, for instance, the origin of “Grinch.” Along with predictably engaging wordplay—“He climbed. He grew dizzy. His ankles grew numb. / But he climbed and he climbed and he clum and he clum”—each tale features bright, crisply reproduced renditions of its original illustrations. Except for “The Hoobub and the Grinch,” which has been jammed into a single spread, the verses and pictures are laid out in spacious, visually appealing ways.

Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-38298-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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