LOOK! ANOTHER BOOK!

The energetic sequel to Look! A Book! (2011) picks up just where the last one ended.

With the same welcoming die cuts and sparkling graphic style, Staake's creativity and humor are front and center here. From the opening pages, readers know what's to come. "Now open up this crazy book, / grab a seat—and have a LOOK!" Readers will take a lot more than just one look at these absorbing pages. The solid-colored pages are graced with small die cuts that reveal little tidbits of the busy scenes hiding on the following spreads. Sometimes the page turns make the images blend seamlessly into the busy new scene in a pleasing way, allowing readers to wonder how the illustrator pulled that little magic trick. The die cuts themselves also seem to disappear with the page turn, leading readers to touch the pages to find the circles and to prove that they are still there. Each scene is a familiar one, but closer inspection reveals surprising details. On the school page, a sasquatch cavorts on the playground, an alligator acts as crossing guard, and a one-eyed green monster peeks around the schoolhouse. Art lovers will love the very hip museum scene, filled with familiar, iconic images. Even the copyright page has an inside joke for the careful observer. The jaunty rhyme and easy-to-decode words make this a perfect choice for the new reader. (Picture book. 4-12)

 

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-20459-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

HOME

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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