JABBERWOCKY

It would be hard not to end up with an outstanding result when starting with such brilliant material as Carroll’s “Jabberwocky,” but Stewart’s mixed-media illustrations suit the wry humor of this nonsense poem so perfectly it’s hard to imagine it being interpreted as well by anyone else since Tenniel himself. The wide, thin-lipped visage of the Jabberwock is particularly reminiscent of Tenniel’s drawings and provides a tribute to the definitive illustrator of Carroll’s work. But there are many original touches, such as the clockwork inner workings of the beast and the imagining of what exactly things like “slithy toves,” “borogoves,” and “mome raths” are (here, various imaginary forest denizens, some of them birdlike, who relax in hammocks and play accordions). The dusky palette of tan, olive, dusty purple, pale blue, and brick red outlined in thin brown lends an antique feel, as does the pseudo-medieval costume worn by the boy as he hunts the “maxnome foe.” Far from being frightening, the Jabberwock is positively dapper in his top hat and high, stiff collar, and the fact that his insides are mechanical keeps his dismemberment from being gory. It’s helpful that the poem is printed in its entirety at the beginning, so readers and listeners can get their own imaginations started before digging in. This brilliantly original, yet respectful new rendering of an old favorite reminds those who’ve read it before of the infinite possibilities and pure fun in its interpretation, and will bring its delightful nonsense to a whole new audience. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-7636-2018-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2003

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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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