Poignant and lovely.

READ REVIEW

HOUSE HELD UP BY TREES

Poet Kooser explores the tension between the human predilection for taming nature and the triumph of the wild.

A solitary house, its lawn bordered by thick woods, shelters a father, boy and girl. The children play in the woods while their father meticulously mows, plucking tree seedlings at every appearance. The children grow up and leave, and dad, yard work too much for him, follows. Unsold and unwanted, the house leaks and sags. Kooser describes the transformation: “Some of the seeds had sprouted along the foundation, where water ran off the roof… and these little trees were soon saplings, pressed against the side of the house.” Paradoxically, the rotting house, nails rusting and boards pulling away, is kept intact by the maturing trees. Kooser, his language plain yet rich, marvels quietly: "[A]s they grew bigger and stronger, they held it / together as if it was a bird’s nest in the fingers of their branches.” Klassen’s stylized pictures, in a muted palette of umber, brick red and green-gray, capture the isolation of both house and father. The lawn, that point of pride, isn’t lushly depicted. Rather, it’s a collection of fitful, pale strokes, suspended below a swirl of winged seeds. Double-page spreads show the shift from foundational support to that of the tight phalanx of trees. In the final spread, the house is seen from below, high in the trees’ sure embrace.

Poignant and lovely. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: March 27, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-510-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more