Of possible interest to caregivers seeking books with bibliotherapeutic potential, this difficult and inventive work is most...

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JIM'S LION

Illustrator Deacon offers a dramatic, disturbing interpretation of an already-unsettling story of childhood illness.

The story remains the same as in the earlier version, a picture book with soft pencil-and-pastel illustrations by Ian Andrew (2001), the text both allusive and elusive. However, the presentations and quite likely the audiences vary considerably. Young Jim suffers from an unspecified condition that requires some sort of surgery to cure. Nurse Bami (from “Africa,” a vague description that risks allegations of cultural insensitivity) suggests imaginative and spiritual ways to find the strength to cope with his fear and anxiety. Wordless dream (or more accurately, nightmare) sequences presented in panels make up more than half the pages, expanding the vision and intensifying the impact of Hoban’s words. Occasional touches of humor appear, as when a series of animals auditions for the role of Jim’s animal “finder,” but more often, the watercolor pictures portray a surreal world, with a menacing rabbit magician or the eponymous lion displaying his fierce fangs. A muted and limited color palette causes splashes of blood red to stand out startlingly just as the spare, low-key telling heightens the paintings’ emotional heft.

Of possible interest to caregivers seeking books with bibliotherapeutic potential, this difficult and inventive work is most likely to be appreciated for its artistic vision. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6517-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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Even a brush with death (or a bad tooth) can’t reform this Bad Kitty. Good thing. We’d miss her! (Graphic/nonfiction hybrid....

BAD KITTY GOES TO THE VET

From the Bad Kitty (chapter book) series

Bad Kitty isn’t eating? It must be a sign of the apocalypse…or worse.

Bad Kitty once ate a meatloaf the size of a car in 5 minutes, so if she’s not eating, something must be horribly wrong. It’s time for a visit to the vet—wait, where’d Bad Kitty go? First task: find the kitty. Then don the riot gear to get her into her cat carrier. When the vet (who knows just how to handle her) knocks Bad Kitty out with a shot, she visits the (kitty) Pearly Gates, where the feline St. Peter tells her she tormented Puppy too much to pass through. She’s given one day to do something nice for Puppy, or she will be sent to Puppydog Paradise (which is far from idyllic for cats). Can Bad Kitty rescue her afterlife with a kind act for her drooling nemesis? Is it all just a dream? After the homage to Looney Tunes that was Bad Kitty Drawn to Trouble (2014), Bruel gives an appreciative nod to Tom and Jerry; it’s a lagniappe that Bad Kitty’s mobs of young fans may not notice, though their adults will probably get a few chuckles. Kids will just enjoy Uncle Murray’s fun facts (all about cat health and visits to the vet this time, of course) and Bad Kitty’s ornery behavior; both are as entertaining as ever.

Even a brush with death (or a bad tooth) can’t reform this Bad Kitty. Good thing. We’d miss her! (Graphic/nonfiction hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59643-977-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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