Of possible interest to caregivers seeking books with bibliotherapeutic potential, this difficult and inventive work is most...


Illustrator Deacon offers a dramatic, disturbing interpretation of an already-unsettling story of childhood illness.

The story remains the same as in the earlier version, a picture book with soft pencil-and-pastel illustrations by Ian Andrew (2001), the text both allusive and elusive. However, the presentations and quite likely the audiences vary considerably. Young Jim suffers from an unspecified condition that requires some sort of surgery to cure. Nurse Bami (from “Africa,” a vague description that risks allegations of cultural insensitivity) suggests imaginative and spiritual ways to find the strength to cope with his fear and anxiety. Wordless dream (or more accurately, nightmare) sequences presented in panels make up more than half the pages, expanding the vision and intensifying the impact of Hoban’s words. Occasional touches of humor appear, as when a series of animals auditions for the role of Jim’s animal “finder,” but more often, the watercolor pictures portray a surreal world, with a menacing rabbit magician or the eponymous lion displaying his fierce fangs. A muted and limited color palette causes splashes of blood red to stand out startlingly just as the spare, low-key telling heightens the paintings’ emotional heft.

Of possible interest to caregivers seeking books with bibliotherapeutic potential, this difficult and inventive work is most likely to be appreciated for its artistic vision. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6517-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale.


From the Heartwood Hotel series , Vol. 1

An orphan mouse unexpectedly arrives at Heartwood Hotel, which she hopes will become the home she’s seeking.

Mona’s never had a home for long. After a storm forces her to flee her latest forest shelter, she discovers an enormous tree with a heart carved into its trunk. When Mona presses the heart, a door opens, and she enters the lobby of Heartwood Hotel, where small forest critters hibernate, eat, and celebrate in safety. The kindhearted badger proprietor, Mr. Heartwood, takes pity on homeless Mona, allowing her to stay for the fall to assist the maid, Tilly, a red squirrel. Grateful to be at Heartwood, Mona strives to prove herself despite Tilly’s unfriendly attitude. Mona’s clever approaches with a wounded songbird, an anxious skunk, and a wayward bear win Mr. Heartwood’s approval. But when Mona accidentally breaks a rule, Tilly convinces her she will be fired. As Mona secretly leaves Heartwood, she discovers marauding wolves planning to crash Heartwood’s Snow Festival and devises a daring plan to save the place she regards as home. Charming anthropomorphic characters, humorous mishaps, and outside threats add to the drama. Delicate pencil illustrations reinforce Heartwood’s cozy home theme. A sequel, The Greatest Gift, publishes simultaneously.

A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale. (Animal fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3161-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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