An uplifting tale showing what fun may be had when one summons the courage to head into the woods and off the grid.

READ REVIEW

GONE CAMPING

A NOVEL IN VERSE

A much-anticipated family camping trip goes slightly awry.

In a follow-up to Gone Fishing (2013), Wissinger and Cordell again present a playful, delightfully illustrated verse narrative for primary graders centered on a family outing for white siblings Sam and Lucy. Where the previous book was largely told by Sam, as he fretted over his little sister’s hijacking of the fishing trip he’d envisioned alone with their father, here many of the poems reveal Lucy’s thoughts, giving equal time to her hopes and fears associated with their upcoming adventure in the woods. Everything is set for the family’s camping trip until Dad wakes up with a cold so fierce both he and Mom are forced to stay home. Though absent-minded Grandpa, who “putters” and “rarely goes outdoors,” steps in to salvage the trip, Lucy and Sam can hardly contain their disappointment. With his signature scribbly sketches, Cordell hilariously nails the change of mood from unbridled excitement, as Sam and Lucy race to surprise their parents with breakfast in bed, to Sam glowering as he eats his cereal and Lucy flat-on-her-back disconsolate on the floor, dropping cornflakes into her mouth at arm’s length with operatic affect, thinking: “This must be a trick. / Dad is never ever sick. / … / Say it isn’t true. / We won’t go camping without you two.” But the three venture off to the forest as Wissinger again takes occasion to explore myriad lyric poetic forms, explained in several pages of backmatter.

An uplifting tale showing what fun may be had when one summons the courage to head into the woods and off the grid. (bibliography) (Verse novel. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-63873-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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TEA WITH MILK

In describing how his parents met, Say continues to explore the ways that differing cultures can harmonize; raised near San Francisco and known as May everywhere except at home, where she is Masako, the child who will grow up to be Say’s mother becomes a misfit when her family moves back to Japan. Rebelling against attempts to force her into the mold of a traditional Japanese woman, she leaves for Osaka, finds work as a department store translator, and meets Joseph, a Chinese businessman who not only speaks English, but prefers tea with milk and sugar, and persuades her that “home isn’t a place or a building that’s ready-made or waiting for you, in America or anywhere else.” Painted with characteristic control and restraint, Say’s illustrations, largely portraits, begin with a sepia view of a sullen child in a kimono, gradually take on distinct, subdued color, and end with a formal shot of the smiling young couple in Western dress. A stately cousin to Ina R. Friedman’s How My Parents Learned To Eat (1984), also illustrated by Say. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-90495-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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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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