This tale of a young Wisenheimer is plenty crafty and features a satisfyingly fitting requital.

PICTURE DAY PERFECTION

A clever tale about a kid who wants this year to be his showcase for the perfect school picture.

The unnamed narrator might as well be called Wisenheimer. He tells readers that he really is excited about making this year’s school photo the best ever, but they’ve got a right to wonder. He doesn’t try to curb his hair—it’s “the worst case of bedhead ever”—or find an alternative to his favorite shirt, which is found stained, wrinkled and smelly in the bottom of the hamper. He gets syrup all over his head at breakfast (it somehow magically disappears in what film critics would call a “continuity error”), then into a touch of spitball trouble with the bus driver, which puts a scowl on his face when he has to sit up front. Readers may start to catch on after he gets paint on himself in art class: Maybe Wisenheimer is just a standard slobby kid, and the perfect photo was never fated to be. Then the story turns on a dime, and then on another dime, and maybe more attention should have been paid to that bedhead, which does look somewhat like the devil’s horns. Diesen has crafted a nice piece of work, and Santat’s Photoshop illustrations have a polish that heightens the immediacy of the moment.

This tale of a young Wisenheimer is plenty crafty and features a satisfyingly fitting requital. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0844-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached.

EXTRA YARN

A little girl in a town of white snow and soot-blackened chimneys opens a small box and discovers a never-ending gift of colorful yarn.

Annabelle knits herself a sweater, and with the leftover yarn, she knits one for her dog, and with the yarn left over from that, she knits one for a neighbor and for her classmates and for her teacher and for her family and for the birdhouse and for the buildings in town. All and everything are warm, cozy and colorful until a clotheshorse of an archduke arrives. Annabelle refuses his monetary offers, whereupon the box is stolen. The greedy archduke gets his just deserts when he opens the box to find it empty. It wends its way back to Annabelle, who ends up happily sitting in a knit-covered tree. Klassen, who worked on the film Coraline, uses inks, gouache and colorized scans of a sweater to create a stylized, linear design of dark geometric shapes against a white background. The stitches of the sweaters add a subdued rainbow. Barnett entertained middle-grade readers with his Brixton Brothers detective series. Here, he maintains a folkloric narrative that results in a traditional story arc complete with repetition, drama and a satisfying conclusion.

A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-195338-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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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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