An artistic showcase that also serves as a teaser for a once-popular, and not entirely dated, children’s classic.


Intricate cut-paper overlays highlight the art that accompanies this abbreviated version of the travels of a peripatetic young Swede.

Being much abridged and a bit modernized (“ ‘Weird-looking bird!’ said the fisherman, tying him up and placing him in a basket”), these 22 recast chapters from the 1906 story and its sequel, Further Adventures of Nils, read as a series of partially sketched incidents with abrupt transitions. Still, the overall plot, which features a trickster lad who is transformed into an elf and flies all over Sweden on the backs of birds, remains intact, and the narrative captures the flavor of the originals, strewn with place names—Lagerlöf was commissioned to write the works as geography lessons—and narrow escapes from danger. Latyk’s illustrations look like retro screen prints, with thin layers of blue and pink the predominant colors and small, stylized figures placed against misty backdrops. On five spreads, wordless expanses of landscape flank black stencils pierced with the outlines of finely detailed buildings, creatures, and natural details (a sixth cutting fills a large window in the cover). The relationship of these special pages to the tale is, at best, tangential, but they do add a memorable element to the presentation.

An artistic showcase that also serves as a teaser for a once-popular, and not entirely dated, children’s classic. (map) (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-91027-719-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Words & Pictures

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.


From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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When Bibi, her first and favorite babysitter, moves away, it takes all of August for 8-year-old Eleanor to get beyond her sense of loss and get used to a new caretaker. Her parents grieve, too; her mother even takes some time off work. But, as is inevitable in a two-income family, eventually a new sitter appears. Natalie is sensible and understanding. They find new activities to do together, including setting up a lemonade stand outside Eleanor’s Brooklyn apartment building, waiting for Val, the mail carrier, and taking pictures of flowers with Natalie’s camera. Gradually Eleanor adjusts, September comes, her new teacher writes a welcoming letter, her best friend returns from summer vacation and third grade starts smoothly. Best of all, Val brings a loving letter from Bibi in Florida. While the story is relatively lengthy, each chapter is a self-contained episode, written simply and presented in short lines, accessible to those still struggling with the printed word. Cordell’s gray-scale line drawings reflect the action and help break up the text on almost every page. This first novel is a promising debut. Eleanor’s concerns, not only about her babysitter, but also about playmates, friends and a new school year will be familiar to readers, who will look forward to hearing more about her life. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8109-8424-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

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