A bucolic story with more adult than child appeal.

READ REVIEW

THE BELL IN THE BRIDGE

A lonely boy finds but never meets a kindred spirit in this summer reverie.

For two weeks every summer, Charlie is dropped off at his grandparents’ farmhouse, while his parents vacation without him. The blond, white boy occupies his time wandering in nearby woods and along the stream. Thus he spends his days, whacking weeds with his special weed-whacking stick and dropping stones in the water from an old bridge. The action picks up when Charlie discovers that when he bangs on the bridge’s metal rail with a stone, the whole bridge rings with a deep bong. The bigger the rock, the deeper and louder the sound, like “a bell, a really big bell like one in a church tower.” The sound echoes down the valley—then a second sound returns from the distance. Could there be someone on another bridge communicating with him? Ending on a predictable hopeful note, the omniscient narrator lets readers know that perhaps there will be a friend for next summer’s visit. Root has created a rural landscape in watercolor-and-gouache paintings in a palette of avocado and ochre that captures a feeling of heat and stillness. In one illustration, Charlie is depicted holding a tablet, his face lit with its glow, but his days are otherwise tech-free. It’s a curious evocation of summer boredom, appealing yet alien.

A bucolic story with more adult than child appeal. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6481-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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