Jocular and sparking with energy, an old tale gets a new turn.

NELLY MAY HAS HER SAY

A playful remake of the English folktale “Master of All Masters.”

This is a lurking cumulative tale wherein the accumulation comes in a great, merry rush at the very end of the telling. The broad strokes are the same as Joseph Jacobs’: A young girl goes looking for work and lands a job with a single, well-to-do man. A requirement for the job is that the girl must use the unusual names he has given to everyday objects. In the original, he calls his bed a “barnacle,” and his pants are “squibs and crackers,” but DeFelice has given the gentleman’s inventions a supercharging. The bed is now a “restful slumberific,” his pants are “long-legged limberjohns,” and his hound a “fur-faced fluffenbarker” complete with a “wigger-wagger” (tail). This makes the ending a tumbling, heroic effort, rather than a spray of commonplace wordplay, but it is all in the service of an amusing mouthful of words. Cole’s artwork remains true to his warm and humorous sensibility, with Nelly May, the young girl, a gratifyingly emotive creature. The contemporary twist on the ending brings the story right up to the late 19th century.

Jocular and sparking with energy, an old tale gets a new turn. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-39899-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

HOME

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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