Whimsy takes flight in this humorous collection

STARDINES SWIM HIGH ACROSS THE SKY

Prelutsky and Berger are back with 16 new specimens of poem and collage, meticulously rendered to excite and amuse.

After traveling the globe for creatures of animal and inanimate origin, the master of verse returns to share his discoveries. Procrastinating pandas, self-adhering geese and cacophonous magpies are a few of the carefully selected creatures on display for readers’ enjoyment. Budding naturalists will relish the details both author and illustrator offer. From the dour to the delightful, Prelutsky describes each creature in detail, packing each line with punchy playfulness: “JOLLYFISH are radiant, / Ebullient blobs of mirth, / With merry dispositions  / From the moment of their birth. / ... / Their humor is infectious, / And as aimlessly they drift, / Their buoyant effervescence / Gives the neighborhood a lift.” Berger’s cleverly designed assemblages—created from ephemera and digitally manipulated vintage etchings—offer the wonder and fascination of a curio shop. Her dioramas in particular, with their steampunk aesthetic, lend an aura of authenticity to these eclectic creatures.

Whimsy takes flight in this humorous collection . (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-201464-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

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There’s always tomorrow.

TOMORROW IS WAITING

A lyrical message of perseverance and optimism.

The text uses direct address, which the title- and final-page illustrations suggest comes from an adult voice, to offer inspiration and encouragement. The opening spreads reads, “Tonight as you sleep, a new day stirs. / Each kiss good night is a wish for tomorrow,” as the accompanying art depicts a child with black hair and light skin asleep in a bed that’s fantastically situated in a stylized landscape of buildings, overpasses, and roadways. The effect is dreamlike, in contrast with the next illustration, of a child of color walking through a field and blowing dandelion fluff at sunrise. Until the last spread, each child depicted in a range of settings is solitary. Some visual metaphors falter in terms of credibility, as in the case of a white-appearing child using a wheelchair in an Antarctic ice cave strewn with obstacles, as the text reads “you’ll explore the world, only feeling lost in your imagination.” Others are oblique in attempted connections between text and art. How does a picture of a pale-skinned, black-haired child on a bridge in the rain evoke “first moments that will dance with you”? But the image of a child with pink skin and brown hair scaling a wall as text reads “there will be injustice that will challenge you, and it will surprise you how brave you can be” is clearer.

There’s always tomorrow. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-101-99437-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared.

IMAGINE

Former Poet Laureate Herrera encourages his young readers to imagine all they might be in his new picture book.

Herrera’s free verse tells his own story, starting as a young boy who loves the plants and animals he finds outdoors in the California fields and is then thrust into the barren, concrete city. In the city he begins to learn to read and write, learning English and discovering a love for words and the way ink flows “like tiny rivers” across the page as he applies pen to paper. Words soon become sentences, poems, lyrics, and a means of escape. This love of the word ultimately leads him to make writing his vocation and to become the first Chicano Poet Laureate of the United States, an honor Herrera received in 2015. Through this story of hardship to success, expressed in a series of conditional statements that all begin “If I,” Herrera implores his readers to “imagine what you could do.” Castillo’s ink and foam monoprint illustrations are a tender accompaniment to Herrera’s verse, the black lines of her illustrations flowing across the page in rhythm with the author’s poetry. Together this makes for a charming read-aloud for groups or a child snuggled in a lap.

A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared. (Picture book/memoir. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9052-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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