Surreal, wacky, and peppered with just a hint of danger. (Picture book. 6-10)

MR. POSEY'S NEW GLASSES

Routine and sameness are wearing on Mr. Posey, a bespectacled, balding older man.

Mr. Posey longs to see the world as his young neighbor Andy sees it, with effervescence and possibility! He decides replacing his glasses may help and invites Andy along for the adventure. They walk through their diverse neighborhood (Mr. Posey presents white, and Andy presents black) to scour the local thrift shop for the right pair. With each set of lenses that he tries, Mr. Posey is transported into a world quite different from his own. A star-shaped pair shows him the night sky; a round pair makes him feel the world is whirling around him. Some even defy the laws of physics! In the end, after Andy points out how dirty Mr. Posey’s original glasses are, he is able to see just fine with them after all. Mr. Posey’s humdrum slump is expertly communicated through the illustrations. His bathroom waste bin overflows, his flowers droop, and a gray wash hangs over everything. Some exceptionally keen descriptors leap out of the narrative, such as the thrift shop’s “rose-petal old-shoe smell.” Though the journey in and out of the different glasses is rather formulaic, and the relationship between Mr. Posey and Andy is regrettably underdeveloped, this is still a nice representation of intergenerational friendship.

Surreal, wacky, and peppered with just a hint of danger. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9609-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for...

DOG DAYS

From the Carver Chronicles series , Vol. 1

A gentle voice and familiar pitfalls characterize this tale of a boy navigating the risky road to responsibility. 

Gavin is new to his neighborhood and Carver Elementary. He likes his new friend, Richard, and has a typically contentious relationship with his older sister, Danielle. When Gavin’s desire to impress Richard sets off a disastrous chain of events, the boy struggles to evade responsibility for his actions. “After all, it isn’t his fault that Danielle’s snow globe got broken. Sure, he shouldn’t have been in her room—but then, she shouldn’t be keeping candy in her room to tempt him. Anybody would be tempted. Anybody!” opines Gavin once he learns the punishment for his crime. While Gavin has a charming Everyboy quality, and his aversion to Aunt Myrtle’s yapping little dog rings true, little about Gavin distinguishes him from other trouble-prone protagonists. He is, regrettably, forgettable. Coretta Scott King Honor winner English (Francie, 1999) is a teacher whose storytelling usually benefits from her day job. Unfortunately, the pizzazz of classroom chaos is largely absent from this series opener.

This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for subsequent volumes. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-97044-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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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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