This Zen exploration of belonging and groundedness is further enhanced by a sensitive translation and pithy, philosophical...

FEATHER

In this first collaboration between Chinese author Cao and Brazilian artist Mello—both of whom are recent Hans Christian Andersen award winners—a feather embarks on a quest to discover to whom she belongs.

From a kingfisher and cuckoo to wild geese and a peacock, the birds universally ignore Feather at first but ultimately convey the same message: she does not belong to them. The protagonist believes that finding her bird of origin will enable her to fly even higher, so she continues the journey. The creatures have distinctive voices, and the compositions fuse a sense of Asian design with a South American palette. Each bird takes center stage on the double-page spreads, a marvel of extravagant pattern against solid, vibrant backgrounds. Pottery and natural features provide occasional context. The feather is an abstract silhouette on the right border of each scene. At the climax, a kindly skylark lifts Feather to new heights but falls prey, alas, to a circling hawk. (The demise occurs offstage.) Devastated, Feather floats to Earth, where she eventually spots a parade of chicks marching into the sunshine; mother hen is missing a feather. The author wisely allows readers to ponder a potential conversation and next steps.

This Zen exploration of belonging and groundedness is further enhanced by a sensitive translation and pithy, philosophical introductions by both creators—masterful storytelling. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-914671-85-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Elsewhere Editions

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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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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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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