Beautiful, haunting descriptions of words and the power they hold will make this a favorite for linguaphiles, both old and...

READ REVIEW

THE WORD COLLECTOR

A young girl shares her love of words and their power in this fanciful tribute to language.

Luna, who lives in the sky, collects words. “Words so beautiful that they make you cry, friendly words that embrace your soul.... / Magic words, delicious words... magnificent words.” But one day the words stop coming. Luna learns that the people have become too busy to remember the importance of words. With her collection, she travels across the land. Where Luna finds darkness and despair she plants words of compassion and love. When her words run out, people begin to create—and generously share—new words. Playful type and placement of text personify the words, as they luminously glow in a jar, fly in a cage or float from a page, seamlessly integrated with the images. Wimmer’s illustrations, done with a European sensibility, are even and rendered with the same texture throughout, perhaps to allow the words to shine. Unfortunately, while the text appears free-spirited, the painting is labored and overworked. It is a testament to her impeccable design that the spreads are visually interesting, despite the drawings, and manage to create a compelling story. An addendum that reproduces the text in conventional layout is included to give readers clarity, as the spreads are so whimsically designed.

Beautiful, haunting descriptions of words and the power they hold will make this a favorite for linguaphiles, both old and new. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-84-15241-34-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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THE SNOWY NAP

A hedgehog tries to stay awake for winter.

It’s almost time to hibernate, and Hedgie means to. But as he sniffs the chilly wind, farmyard animals taunt him about what he’ll miss. The hens’ coop will be “bedazzled by icicles”; the geese will joyfully “slip and slide across the pond ice”; the pony will pull a sleigh; snowflakes will fall, no two alike. The animals heckling Hedgie—hens, geese, sheep, pigs, a billy goat, a pony—are drawn with fine lines, hatchings, and textures. Because their faces are mostly realistic with only faint hints of anthropomorphism, their needling is subtle; some readers may hear their points as merely informative. Either way, Hedgie’s seized by FOMO: He decides to stay awake. When he accidentally nods off, farm girl Lisa brings him indoors and places him in a tea cozy on a windowsill. Nature will eventually run its course, but not before Hedgie finally glimpses “flowers of frost decorating his window,” the chicken coop “sparkl[ing] like a palace,” and Lisa pond-sliding with the geese. Brett’s watercolor-and-gouache illustrations feature both soft and bright colors, with fine lines and copious textures to peruse; the borders are characteristically fussy (braided yarn, pinking-shears edging, oval insets) but not distractingly so. Between the opulent farmhouse with decorative plates on the walls, the sleigh with sleigh bells, and the lack of adults, combined with a comfortably heated interior, this is a winter idyll. Lisa presents white.

Amiable. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-17073-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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