An excuse for Czajak to share his love of books with children, this story’s optimistic view of creativity and resistance is...

THE BOOK TREE

After the mayor bans books, a young boy named Arlo discovers how to grow them.

“Beginnings were always the best part. They smelled as if anything were possible.” Arlo is so absorbed in the book he’s reading up in a tree that it slips from his hands and bonks the mayor on the head. “Books are dangerous!” the mayor cries, and he rips up every book in town. Arlo is sad, but he figures the mayor must be right; after all, he is the mayor. The town changes: Storytime is replaced by nap time; the theaters produce no plays, and the library is empty. Arlo weeps as he writes “The End” in the sand, but writing makes him determined to share stories. Then, from one of the ripped-up pages, the titular tree begins to sprout, and books flourish once more. (Conveniently, the mayor is easily convinced of their value.) Kheiriyeh’s dramatic oil paint–and-collage illustrations, in hues of beige, red, and bright blue, use characters and setting to drive home the message that books bring joy and their absence is all but tragic. The books that grow from the tree contain print in many languages: Korean, Arabic, Russian, Portuguese, and more. Arlo and a number of the other townspeople are brown-skinned, the mayor and others are a shade of beige, and all have blue hair.

An excuse for Czajak to share his love of books with children, this story’s optimistic view of creativity and resistance is fairly irresistible. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78285-505-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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A validating and breathtaking next chapter of a Mother Goose favorite.

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AFTER THE FALL (HOW HUMPTY DUMPTY GOT BACK UP AGAIN)

Humpty Dumpty, classically portrayed as an egg, recounts what happened after he fell off the wall in Santat’s latest.

An avid ornithophile, Humpty had loved being atop a high wall to be close to the birds, but after his fall and reassembly by the king’s men, high places—even his lofted bed—become intolerable. As he puts it, “There were some parts that couldn’t be healed with bandages and glue.” Although fear bars Humpty from many of his passions, it is the birds he misses the most, and he painstakingly builds (after several papercut-punctuated attempts) a beautiful paper plane to fly among them. But when the plane lands on the very wall Humpty has so doggedly been avoiding, he faces the choice of continuing to follow his fear or to break free of it, which he does, going from cracked egg to powerful flight in a sequence of stunning spreads. Santat applies his considerable talent for intertwining visual and textual, whimsy and gravity to his consideration of trauma and the oft-overlooked importance of self-determined recovery. While this newest addition to Santat’s successes will inevitably (and deservedly) be lauded, younger readers may not notice the de-emphasis of an equally important part of recovery: that it is not compulsory—it is OK not to be OK.

A validating and breathtaking next chapter of a Mother Goose favorite. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-682-6

Page Count: 45

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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