Surreal but fascinating, visually jazzy but conceptually cryptic, this will work for older readers who like primary colors,...

READ REVIEW

COPPERNICKEL GOES MONDRIAN

A red-hoodie–sporting, upright-standing bird (or possibly weasel) named Coppernickel (Coppernickel: The Invention, 2008) and his diminutive pet dog follow artist Piet Mondrian though a progression of changes in their setting, time period and bodies.

Quickstep (aka Mondrian), who has a full beak and approximates an upright-standing bird more than Coppernickel does, “is looking for the future.” Coppernickel presumes that “If you just wait, the future will arrive anyway,” but Quickstep disagrees: “[I]f we stand around waiting, nothing will change…. Things will only get older. I’m looking for the new.” Quickstep’s dog can “smell the future” and they’re off. Left-hand trees mimic Mondrian’s early organic naturalism; as Coppernickel (pursuing Quickstep) traverses a horizontal landscape scroll, the trees shift subtly into roadside telegraph poles—or late-Mondrian grid-style trees. Coppernickel reaches a packed, bustling city. Gorgeous tiny rectangles tile the subway as Mondrian’s famous primary colors and grid patterns begin to dominate. Composition varies dynamically; the scene moves from city blocks to Mondrian’s spare 1940s apartment. Music emerges from a turntable in lively primary-colored rectangles, becoming Mondrian’s famous painting Victory Boogie Woogie, and even the four characters end up geometrically stylized.

Surreal but fascinating, visually jazzy but conceptually cryptic, this will work for older readers who like primary colors, geometric art or the philosophical notion of the future. (author’s note) (Picture book/art. 7–10)

Pub Date: May 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59270-119-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the...

CHARLIE BUMPERS VS. THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR

From the Charlie Bumpers series , Vol. 1

Charlie Bumpers is doomed. The one teacher he never wanted in the whole school turns out to be his fourth-grade teacher.

Charlie recalls third grade, when he accidentally hit the scariest teacher in the whole school with his sneaker. “I know all about you, Charlie Bumpers,” she says menacingly on the first day of fourth grade. Now, in addition to all the hardships of starting school, he has gotten off on the wrong foot with her. Charlie’s dry and dramatic narrative voice clearly reveals the inner life of a 9-year-old—the glass is always half empty, especially in light of a series of well-intentioned events gone awry. It’s quite a litany: “Hitting Mrs. Burke in the head with the sneaker. The messy desk. The swinging on the door. The toilet paper. And now this—the shoe on the roof.” Harley has teamed once again with illustrator Gustavson (Lost and Found, 2012) to create a real-life world in which a likable kid must face the everyday terrors of childhood: enormous bullies, looming teachers and thick gym coaches with huge pointing fingers. Into this series opener, Harley magically weaves the simple lesson that people, even teachers, can surprise you.

Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the sarcasm of Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-732-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more