Complex feelings articulated through heart-rending paintings that beg return visits.

ADELAIDE'S SECRET WORLD

Amid a teeming city, bustling with smartly dressed bears, foxes, cats, humans, and ostriches, rabbit Adelaide spends each day alone in her workshop safely behind a soft, red curtain.

This rabbit’s sensitivity, her glistening, emotive eyes, and her pert ears bring to mind other anthropomorphized bunnies: Margery Williams and William Nicholson’s Velveteen Rabbit, Beatrix Potter’s rabbit broods, DuBose Heyward and Marjorie Flack’s country bunny and her little gold shoes, and even the psychological complexity of the scrambling rabbits of Watership Down. Moving, impressionistic oil paintings endow Adelaide with the same searing sentience, pathos, and intellect of these antecedents. Her wrenching isolation, loneliness, and ultimate desire for connection make this picture book perfectly suited for older readers. Fantastic flourishes will appeal to children of all ages; fish and sailboats fly through the streets, animals populate an urban city center, while a fox and Adelaide unknowingly document each other’s lives through art. When a storm blows, forcing them to collide, readers’ human hearts sing. Masterful artwork, streaked with breathtaking brush strokes and daubs of pigment, easily makes up for sometimes-unimaginative language. These portraits of animals struggling with human feelings startle with their emotional exactitude, empathy, and expert execution.

Complex feelings articulated through heart-rending paintings that beg return visits. (Picture book. 5-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-1454-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder.

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WONDER

After being home-schooled for years, Auggie Pullman is about to start fifth grade, but he’s worried: How will he fit into middle school life when he looks so different from everyone else?

Auggie has had 27 surgeries to correct facial anomalies he was born with, but he still has a face that has earned him such cruel nicknames as Freak, Freddy Krueger, Gross-out and Lizard face. Though “his features look like they’ve been melted, like the drippings on a candle” and he’s used to people averting their eyes when they see him, he’s an engaging boy who feels pretty ordinary inside. He’s smart, funny, kind and brave, but his father says that having Auggie attend Beecher Prep would be like sending “a lamb to the slaughter.” Palacio divides the novel into eight parts, interspersing Auggie’s first-person narrative with the voices of family members and classmates, wisely expanding the story beyond Auggie’s viewpoint and demonstrating that Auggie’s arrival at school doesn’t test only him, it affects everyone in the community. Auggie may be finding his place in the world, but that world must find a way to make room for him, too.

A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder. (Fiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86902-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in...

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NEW KID

From the New Kid series , Vol. 1

Jordan Banks takes readers down the rabbit hole and into his mostly white prep school in this heartbreakingly accurate middle-grade tale of race, class, microaggressions, and the quest for self-identity.

He may be the new kid, but as an African-American boy from Washington Heights, that stigma entails so much more than getting lost on the way to homeroom. Riverdale Academy Day School, located at the opposite end of Manhattan, is a world away, and Jordan finds himself a stranger in a foreign land, where pink clothing is called salmon, white administrators mistake a veteran African-American teacher for the football coach, and white classmates ape African-American Vernacular English to make themselves sound cool. Jordan’s a gifted artist, and his drawings blend with the narrative to give readers a full sense of his two worlds and his methods of coping with existing in between. Craft skillfully employs the graphic-novel format to its full advantage, giving his readers a delightful and authentic cast of characters who, along with New York itself, pop off the page with vibrancy and nuance. Shrinking Jordan to ant-sized proportions upon his entering the school cafeteria, for instance, transforms the lunchroom into a grotesque Wonderland in which his lack of social standing becomes visually arresting and viscerally uncomfortable.

An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in America. (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-269120-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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