A visit to “any museum with portraits” would be time better spent.

MASTER-PIECES

FLIP AND FLOP 10 GREAT WORKS OF ART

Horizontally split pages encourage young appreciators of art to mix and match facial features of 10 classic portraits.

Printed on heavy stock and arranged in no apparent order, the paintings—and the one Japanese woodblock print—are all close-ups that are adjusted for size so that George Washington’s jaw will (more or less) fit the Mona Lisa’s nose beneath the brow of, say, Vincent Van Gogh or Frida Kahlo. Arcimboldo’s fruit-and-veggie Vertumnus, the Japanese actor Sawamura Sojuro III, and African-American entrepreneur Edna Powell Gayle add at least a bit of diversity to the exhibit’s subjects. Stylistically, though, there is a lack of strong visual contrast. Viewers who flip the parts back and forth are likely to be equally unexcited by Lach’s bland commentary opposite: “My cheeks are of apples, my nose is a pear” notes Vertumnus self-evidently. The gloss in Gayle’s voice is positively vapid: “I run a Chicago art gallery, and my elegant hairstyle is perfect for my job.” And, alas, so is Frida Kahlo’s: “I am an artist. My elaborate hairstyle shows my love of Mexico.” Along with further information about each work and its creator at the end, the author offers a few desperate ideas for activities, such as visiting the originals or “any museum with portraits.”

A visit to “any museum with portraits” would be time better spent. (Novelty. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7892-1274-0

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Abbeville Kids

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock”...

THE SINGING ROCK & OTHER BRAND-NEW FAIRY TALES

The theme of persistence (for better or worse) links four tales of magic, trickery, and near disasters.

Lachenmeyer freely borrows familiar folkloric elements, subjecting them to mildly comical twists. In the nearly wordless “Hip Hop Wish,” a frog inadvertently rubs a magic lamp and finds itself saddled with an importunate genie eager to shower it with inappropriate goods and riches. In the title tale, an increasingly annoyed music-hating witch transforms a persistent minstrel into a still-warbling cow, horse, sheep, goat, pig, duck, and rock in succession—then is horrified to catch herself humming a tune. Athesius the sorcerer outwits Warthius, a rival trying to steal his spells via a parrot, by casting silly ones in Ig-pay Atin-lay in the third episode, and in the finale, a painter’s repeated efforts to create a flattering portrait of an ogre king nearly get him thrown into a dungeon…until he suddenly understands what an ogre’s idea of “flattering” might be. The narratives, dialogue, and sound effects leave plenty of elbow room in Blocker’s big, brightly colored panels for the expressive animal and human(ish) figures—most of the latter being light skinned except for the golden genie, the blue ogre, and several people of color in the “Sorcerer’s New Pet.”

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock” music. (Graphic short stories. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59643-750-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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