Gleefully distinctive stylings, fluorescent colors, and beautiful bookmaking should make an eager new audience for these old...

BEASTLY VERSE

Using just three impossibly bright colors, printmaker Yoon illustrates a collection of animal-themed poems of varying familiarity.

There’s a nostalgic feel to the collection, as many poems date from the 19th century—William Blake’s “The Tiger,” Christina Rossetti’s “Caterpillar,” and Lewis Carroll’s “The Crocodile” among them—and none dates later than the mid-20th century. For all that they may be old, however, the poems have a real child friendliness, from the light verse of Ogden Nash (“The Eel”) and Hilaire Belloc (“The Yak”) to the weightier stanzas of D.H. Lawrence (“Humming-bird”) and Walter de la Mare (“Dream Song”). If the poetry delights, the prints dazzle. Layering cyan, magenta, and yellow—and eschewing black—Yoon produces crowded, eye-popping images that will draw children’s attention. There’s a studied, childlike crudeness to her stylings, full of scribbly lines and overlap, that yields great energy. Carolyn Wells’ “Happy Hyena,” its bright pink head wildly out of proportion to its body, wears a green jacket and a yellow waistcoat, playing the concertina as it walks through town. The book’s design offers further surprises. A pink telephone jangles imperiously in a seemingly empty room in Laura Richards’ “Eletelephony,” but a gatefold opens to show an enormous teal-and-purple elephant hopelessly entangled in the telephone’s cord.

Gleefully distinctive stylings, fluorescent colors, and beautiful bookmaking should make an eager new audience for these old poems. (Picture book/poetry. 4-10)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59270-166-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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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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