Krommes’s breathtaking scratchboard illustrations, in black and white with accents of yellow and gold, embody and enhance...

THE HOUSE IN THE NIGHT

Inspired by a traditional poem from The Oxford Nursery Rhyme Book, Swanson’s cumulative tale begins, “Here is the key to the house.”

Readers are welcomed inside the house, where they find a light, a bed within the light, a book on that bed and a bird inside that book. The book opens to reveal a bird that sings a song about the dark, and within that song are the moon and the sun shining on the moon’s face. And then, from deep in the night, the poem begins to climb back out of itself: “Sun in the moon, / moon in dark, / dark in the song, / song in the bird,” and so forth, finally arriving back to “the house in the night” which is, indeed, a “home full of light.”

Krommes’s breathtaking scratchboard illustrations, in black and white with accents of yellow and gold, embody and enhance the text’s message that light and dark, like comfort and mystery, are not mutually exclusive, but integral parts of each other. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 5, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-618-86244-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2008

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I CAN BE ANYTHING!

A young boy wonders aloud to a rabbit friend what he will be when he grows up and imagines some outrageous choices. “Puddle stomper,” “bubble gum popper,” “mixing-bowl licker,” “baby-sis soother” are just some of the 24 inspiringly creative vocations Spinelli’s young dreamer envisions in this pithy rhymed account. Aided by Liao’s cleverly integrated full-bleed mixed-media illustrations, which radiate every hue of the rainbow, and dynamic typesetting with words that swoop and dive, the author’s perspective on this adult-inspired question yields some refreshingly child-oriented answers. Given such an irresistible array of options—“So many jobs! / They’re all such fun”—the boy in the end decides, in an exuberant double gatefold, “I’m going to choose… / EVERY ONE!”—a conclusion befitting a generation expected to have more than six careers each. Without parents or peers around to corral this carefree child’s dreams, the possibilities of being whatever one wants appear both limitless and attainable. An inspired take on a timeless question. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-316-16226-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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NOT A BOX

Dedicated “to children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes,” this elemental debut depicts a bunny with big, looping ears demonstrating to a rather thick, unseen questioner (“Are you still standing around in that box?”) that what might look like an ordinary carton is actually a race car, a mountain, a burning building, a spaceship or anything else the imagination might dream up. Portis pairs each question and increasingly emphatic response with a playscape of Crockett Johnson–style simplicity, digitally drawn with single red and black lines against generally pale color fields. Appropriately bound in brown paper, this makes its profound point more directly than such like-themed tales as Marisabina Russo’s Big Brown Box (2000) or Dana Kessimakis Smith’s Brave Spaceboy (2005). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-112322-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2006

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