Bileck and Bryan capture the stuff of dreams in this mesmerizing and multifaceted pageant.

BY TROLLEY PAST THIMBLEDON BRIDGE

With echoes of Lear and Stevenson, this journey into the land of dreams pairs a detailed Old World setting with a pulsing four-beat rhythm to pull readers into its magical realm.

Bileck, illustrator of Julian Scheer’s Rain Makes Applesauce (1964), originally created these graphite-and–colored-pencil drawings for a children’s manuscript by Virginia Woolf. When her estate canceled the project, Bryan collaborated on a new text with his longtime friend. Masterful wordplay, alliteration, imagery, and rhyme contribute to this 29-stanza poem, printed in its entirety at the opening and then woven throughout the densely populated pages in a hand-printed text. Thimbledon Bridge “is a merry mile long. / No one can cross who is cross. / It boasts a moon quite enormously blown / By bubble-man, bassoonist, Peat Moss.” Spools, needles, and thimbles weave the emerging tapestry, both out of and “into the blue.” Pinwheels and performers, giraffes and camels, turrets and greenery unfold in a fantastical, surreal parade. The images are alternately richly saturated with color or rendered with such a pale line as to be slipping from sight. The seamstress/narrator appears at the beginning and conclusion as a benevolent figure, relaxing in a rocker. Inside she becomes the wild Wind-Witch, hoary and zombielike, in compositions as disturbing as the rest are delightful.

Bileck and Bryan capture the stuff of dreams in this mesmerizing and multifaceted pageant. (contributors’ notes) (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9793000-4-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Alazar Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent.

HORTON AND THE KWUGGERBUG AND MORE LOST STORIES

Published in magazines, never seen since / Now resurrected for pleasure intense / Versified episodes numbering four / Featuring Marco, and Horton and more!

All of the entries in this follow-up to The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories (2011) involve a certain amount of sharp dealing. Horton carries a Kwuggerbug through crocodile-infested waters and up a steep mountain because “a deal is a deal”—and then is cheated out of his promised share of delicious Beezlenuts. Officer Pat heads off escalating, imagined disasters on Mulberry Street by clubbing a pesky gnat. Marco (originally met on that same Mulberry Street) concocts a baroque excuse for being late to school. In the closer, a smooth-talking Grinch (not the green sort) sells a gullible Hoobub a piece of string. In a lively introduction, uber-fan Charles D. Cohen (The Seuss, The Whole Seuss, and Nothing but the Seuss, 2002) provides publishing histories, places characters and settings in Seussian context, and offers insights into, for instance, the origin of “Grinch.” Along with predictably engaging wordplay—“He climbed. He grew dizzy. His ankles grew numb. / But he climbed and he climbed and he clum and he clum”—each tale features bright, crisply reproduced renditions of its original illustrations. Except for “The Hoobub and the Grinch,” which has been jammed into a single spread, the verses and pictures are laid out in spacious, visually appealing ways.

Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-38298-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

SYLVIA'S SPINACH

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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