Deftly written but not quite traditional, a pleasing romantic story.

THE ROCK MAIDEN

A CHINESE TALE OF LOVE AND LOYALTY

A loving wife is turned to stone by a merciful goddess in this story spun from a Hong Kong legend.

Although that sounds the opposite of merciful, the goddess of fishermen, Tin Hau, is trying to help Ling Yee, a young and beautiful wife whose husband has disappeared in a terrible storm. Every day, Ling Yee, with her baby strapped to her back, climbs to a promontory where she can look out over the ocean and search for her husband’s sampan. For months, the young woman with the infant keeps watch and grows sadder. Her parents seek assistance from Tin Hau, also known as goddess of the sea, and the deity finally helps—in her own way. “One day, she decided that they should mourn no more.” The goddess turns the two into a rock formation, known in Hong Kong as Amah Rock, a tourist destination to this day. Amah usually means “nanny,” someone who takes care of children, but it can also mean “mother.” In this adaptation of the tale, Yim creates “a happier ending—where the husband finds his way home to his loyal wife and son,” and Tin Hau brings Ling Yee and her child back to life. Softly toned watercolors illustrate the sad story–turned-happy with grays and blues, modulating to warm yellow, orange, and red tones in the joyful moments.

Deftly written but not quite traditional, a pleasing romantic story. (author’s note) (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-937786-65-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Wisdom Tales

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Too thin to fly as either tour or tribute but a memorable showcase nonetheless for a talented French paper artist.

MARY POPPINS UP, UP AND AWAY

From the Up, Up and Away series

Silhouettes, both printed and laser-cut, add sparkle to a quick tour of London sites and starry skies conducted by Mary Poppins.

Michael and Jane are thrilled when their nanny (literally) drops in on the end of a kite string, and spit-spot they’re off to see Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Piccadilly—followed by an undersea visit and a flight through comet-filled skies to a circus of constellations. As the text, translated without credit from the original French, is confined to a few wooden couplets along the lines of “On Cherry Tree Lane, it’s a nice day to dream… / To walk in the park or to eat an ice cream,” the stars of the show are Druvert’s illustrations. The black, cut pages are designed to be flipped back and forth to fill in printed cityscapes, marine scenes, and speckled firmaments with fine detail. The marvelous intricacy of the cutout fences, ironwork, trees, strands of seaweed, and small human figures leaves those pages too fragile to survive even moderately careless handling intact, but the intensely black overlay (along with a subtle use of gray tones in the backgrounds) creates a sense of depth and, often, an evocative shimmer of light. A large die-cut window in the front cover offers a hint of the visual pleasures within.

Too thin to fly as either tour or tribute but a memorable showcase nonetheless for a talented French paper artist. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-500-65104-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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