Appendix aside, this tender, well-crafted sibling story should hook many readers.

READ REVIEW

GONE FISHING

A NOVEL IN VERSE

A playful verse narrative of the joys and perils of a family fishing trip.

In her poetic debut for primary graders, Wissinger tells the sweet domestic tale of a much-anticipated family outing from the viewpoints of young Sam, sister Lucy and Dad. Sam eagerly looks forward to fishing solo with his father—“It’ll be like playing catch or / painting the garage. / Just Dad and me. / Fishing”—when younger sis Lucy horns in and threatens to ruin the fun. First, Lucy disturbs the contents of Sam’s tackle box, then renders Sam despondent when her singing helps her catch a handful of fish even before Sam has caught one. But the trip vastly improves for Sam when he lands a sizable catfish, leading Lucy to gush with pride for him. The resolution to this muted sibling-rivalry plot is reached via a number of verse forms, from the kid-friendly acrostic, haiku and concrete poem to the purposefully silly double dactyl, a form so complex Wissinger admits her example here follows only in “spirit.” Alongside the poems, Cordell’s light yet expressive illustrations neatly capture the day’s shifting mood. Perhaps in a nod to teachers, Wissinger tacks on a note on writing poetry, adding definitions of literary terms and verse forms in language too sophisticated for many in the work’s intended audience.

Appendix aside, this tender, well-crafted sibling story should hook many readers.   (bibliography) (Verse fiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-82011-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

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Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference.

SOFIA VALDEZ, FUTURE PREZ

From the Questioneers series

Sofia Valdez proves that community organizers of any age can have a positive impact.

After a trash-heap eyesore causes an injury to her beloved abuelo, Sofia springs into action to bring big change to her neighborhood. The simple rhymes of the text follow Sofia on her journey from problem through ideas to action as she garners community support for an idyllic new park to replace the dangerous junk pile. When bureaucracy threatens to quash Sofia’s nascent plan, she digs deep and reflects that “being brave means doing the thing you must do, / though your heart cracks with fear. / Though you’re just in Grade Two.” Sofia’s courage yields big results and inspires those around her to lend a hand. Implied Latinx, Sofia and her abuelo have medium brown skin, and Sofia has straight brown hair (Abuelo is bald). Readers will recognize Iggy Peck, Rosie Revere, and Ada Twist from Beaty’s previous installments in the Questioneers series making cameo appearances in several scenes. While the story connects back to the title and her aptitude for the presidency in only the second-to-last sentence of the book, Sofia’s leadership and grit are themes throughout. Roberts’ signature illustration style lends a sense of whimsy; detailed drawings will have readers scouring each page for interesting minutiae.

Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3704-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

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Patchy work, both visually and teleologically.

YOU'RE HERE FOR A REASON

The sultana of high-fructose sentimentality reminds readers that they really are all that.

Despite the title, we’re actually here for a couple of reasons. In fulsome if vague language Tillman embeds one message, that acts of kindness “may triple for days… / or set things in motion in different ways,” in a conceptually separate proposition that she summarizes thus: “perhaps you forgot— / a piece of the world that is precious and dear / would surely be missing if you weren’t here.” Her illustrations elaborate on both themes in equally abstract terms: a lad releases a red kite that ends up a sled for fox kits, while its ribbons add decorative touches to bird nests and a moose before finally being vigorously twirled by a girl and (startlingly) a pair of rearing tigers. Without transition the focus then shifts as the kite is abruptly replaced by a red ball. Both embodied metaphors, plus children and animals, gather at the end for a closing circle dance. The illustrator lavishes attention throughout on figures of children and wild animals, which are depicted with such microscopically precise realism that every fine hair and feather is visible, but she then floats them slightly above hazy, generic backdrops. The overall design likewise has a slapdash feel, as some spreads look relatively crowded with verses while others bear only a single line or phrase.

Patchy work, both visually and teleologically. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05626-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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