Slight when new, it’s now a period piece to boot. (Picture book. 6-8)

ADELAIDE

The third English edition of a justly obscure tale (it was originally published in 1959) featuring a winged kangaroo whose travels end in Paris.

As soon as she’s able, Adelaide flies away from her parents—first to visit India and other locales with a pilot, then to tour Paris with a well-to-do gentleman, become an exotic dancer in his music hall and injure herself rescuing two children from a burning building. Recovering, she falls in love with a kangaroo in a local zoo and, after a fancy church wedding, settles down to produce little winged offspring with the rather fatuous reflection that “her adventures could have only happened with her special set of wings.” The terse text is matched to sketchy, two-color illustrations in which the garish red of earlier versions has been replaced with a drab, café-au-lait brown. Unlike recent revivals of Ungerer titles—Three Robbers (2008), Moon Man (2009) and especially Otto: The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear (2010)—this both shows its age and offers no compensatory graphic interest or emotional depth. While it could be read as a metaphorical bildungsroman by adults, children will likely be indifferent.

Slight when new, it’s now a period piece to boot. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7148-6083-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Phaidon

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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A loving tribute to problem-solvers, quarrel menders, and peacemakers.

THE LONELY MAILMAN

From the Whispers in the Forest series

A solitary mail carrier brings more than just letters to a forest community.

From early morning to shadowy twilight, an aging, bespectacled letter carrier—depicted in Montero Galán’s forest scenes as a portly, uniformed badger on a bike—quietly delivers to the forest’s burrows, dens, and nests. The notes—all typed and printed in boxes to separate them from the narrative text—offer complaints, apologies, reconciliations, or offers of friendship between animal neighbors. Hedgehog apologizes to Squirrel for an accidental jab, and Squirrel suggests in return having dinner together and a nice chat; Woodpecker’s tapping keeps Dormouse up, and Woodpecker replies with a promise to find another tree; Rabbit would love to join Bear in the pond but is afraid of water, so Bear offers a back to climb on, “just as if I were a big old boat.” At day’s end the weary letter carrier goes home…to spend the evening typing out the very letters he’s delivering. Then one day he finds a letter in his bag addressed to him. It’s a thank-you note from the animals, who follow it up by gathering that night to heap him with appreciation. Emotionally, Montero Galán begins the letter carrier’s tale with an orangey-red dawn and ends with a rosy-red candlelit scene. Although daytime scenes are dominated by blue skies and green grass, the artist unifies the palette throughout with such touches as the red wings of butterflies and red, autumnal leaves on the trees. The effect is to suffuse the pages with warmth.

A loving tribute to problem-solvers, quarrel menders, and peacemakers. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-84-16147-98-4

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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