IMAGINE A DAY

“Imagine a day . . . when the edge of the map is only the beginning of what we can explore.” Like its companion, Imagine a Night (2003), this showcases Gonsalves’s Escher-like, surrealist art, paring oblique captions to a series of transformations. Children step onto, and then into, a map; a high stone bridge dissipates into grey sky while its arches become sailing ships; fence pickets become skyscrapers; pines change into a forest of green-roofed cathedrals; each book on a shelf becomes a doorway to a different scene. There’s no plotline, but the artist populates his precisely detailed paintings with grave-looking adults and children, thus creating a formal air that nicely underscores the general sense of mystery. Viewers who enjoy poring over such painterly imagination-stretchers as Quint Buchholz’s Collector of Moments (1999) or Sarah Perry’s If— (1995) will sink into this, too. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-689-85219-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2005

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INDIAN SHOES

A very pleasing first-chapter book from its funny and tender opening salvo to its heartwarming closer. Ray and his Grampa Halfmoon live in Chicago, but Grampa comes from Oklahoma. Six vignettes make up the short chapters. Among them: Ray finds a way to buy Grampa the pair of moccasins that remind him of home and Smith gets in a gentle jab at the commercialization of Native American artifacts. At a Christmas stuck far away from the Oklahoma relatives the pair finds comfort and joy even when the electricity goes out, and in a funny sequence of disasters, a haircut gone seriously awry enables a purple-and-orange dye job to be just the ticket for little-league spirit. The language is spare, clean, and rhythmic, with a little sentimentality to soften the edges. Ray and Grampa have a warm and loving intergenerational bond that’s an added treat. With a nod toward contemporary Native Americans, Grampa tells Cherokee and Seminole family stories, and when Ray gets to be in a wedding party, the groom is Polish-Menominee and his bride is Choctaw. An excellent choice for younger readers from the author of the bittersweet Rain Is Not My Indian Name (2001). (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-06-029531-7

Page Count: 80

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2002

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THE JUNKYARD WONDERS

Trisha is ready to start at a new school, where no one will know she has dyslexia. At first, she is heartbroken to be in Miss Peterson’s special-ed class, aka, “the junkyard.” But Miss Peterson treats the children as anything but junk, showing them that everyone has a unique talent. Polacco’s trademark style is fully present here; her sensitively drawn alter ego shines with depth of feeling. When bullying occurs, Miss Peterson proves her students are worthwhile by planning a junkyard field trip, where they find valuable objects to be used in exciting ways. Trisha’s group repairs a plane, and the class buys an engine for it. Then a beloved class member dies, and the children must find a way to honor him. While the plot meanders somewhat, the characters are appealing, believable and provide a fine portrayal of a truly special class. Children will be drawn in by the story’s warmth and gentle humor and will leave with a spark of inspiration, an appreciation of individual differences and a firm anti-bullying message, all underscored by the author’s note that concludes the book. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-399-25078-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2010

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