No more than a quick shuffle, but for young readers who can Mind the Gap, the flavour does come through.

READ REVIEW

AN ENGLISH YEAR

TWELVE MONTHS IN THE LIFE OF ENGLAND'S KIDS

Foods, festivals, and frolics mingle in this 12-month tour through England’s calendar of traditions old and, well, older.

Multiculturalism is definitely the order of the day. Five children of diverse ancestry introduce themselves with greetings from “Hiya” to “Namaste!” and “Witam!” They then squire viewers month by month past occasions ranging from catching a double-decker school bus to Commonwealth Day, Pongal, and Eid al-Fitr. Tables display Yorkshire puddings and mushy peas in January and paratha and sarnies in September; favorite activities include cheese rolling and gathering for a Boxing Day viewing of The Snowman on the telly—perhaps with some of Mum’s fruit mince pie and mulled wine for refreshments. A similarly varied cast poses in companion A Scottish Year amid somewhat more parochial nods to neeps and tatties, whisky and haggis, An Fhèis Mhór, and St Andrew’s Day. The scattered one-sentence comments in both titles may leave non-Anglophiles in the dark about, for instance, the Blackpool Illuminations, but they generally convey the gist of each event, and the cartoon illustrations put up bright faces and spots of color even for such solemn occasions as Remembrance Day. Each volume closes with a highly stylized map, plus a proper if too-inconspicuous disclaimer that the aim was to be inclusive rather than comprehensive.

No more than a quick shuffle, but for young readers who can Mind the Gap, the flavour does come through. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-921966-86-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: EK Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Too thin to fly as either tour or tribute but a memorable showcase nonetheless for a talented French paper artist.

MARY POPPINS UP, UP AND AWAY

From the Up, Up and Away series

Silhouettes, both printed and laser-cut, add sparkle to a quick tour of London sites and starry skies conducted by Mary Poppins.

Michael and Jane are thrilled when their nanny (literally) drops in on the end of a kite string, and spit-spot they’re off to see Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Piccadilly—followed by an undersea visit and a flight through comet-filled skies to a circus of constellations. As the text, translated without credit from the original French, is confined to a few wooden couplets along the lines of “On Cherry Tree Lane, it’s a nice day to dream… / To walk in the park or to eat an ice cream,” the stars of the show are Druvert’s illustrations. The black, cut pages are designed to be flipped back and forth to fill in printed cityscapes, marine scenes, and speckled firmaments with fine detail. The marvelous intricacy of the cutout fences, ironwork, trees, strands of seaweed, and small human figures leaves those pages too fragile to survive even moderately careless handling intact, but the intensely black overlay (along with a subtle use of gray tones in the backgrounds) creates a sense of depth and, often, an evocative shimmer of light. A large die-cut window in the front cover offers a hint of the visual pleasures within.

Too thin to fly as either tour or tribute but a memorable showcase nonetheless for a talented French paper artist. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-500-65104-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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