FLYING

Seemingly complex artwork offers big rewards for readers who meet its demanding appeal. Two towers—more like rockets, each one somewhere between an obelisk and a crayon—are standing side by side when the smaller one whispers a ``secret'' to the other. In order to get to that secret, readers are meant to struggle through unorthodox, pencilled scrawls, color patches, and playful design elements, and ponder an array of wacky, puzzling characters who find distinct ways to fly: A yellow bear fills up balloons; a frog has a flying machine; other creatures construct wings. The secret turns out to be a message: ``Flying is easy!'' Pacovsk† (The Little Flower King, 1992, etc.) scores well for the notion that, from a child's point of view, clarity and complexity are often equivocal, particularly in the visual medium. This book has at once the appearance of a hoax and the expression of a genuine message about creativity and effort at the primal level. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1995

ISBN: 1-55858-496-X

Page Count: 40

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1995

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A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off.

TINY LITTLE ROCKET

This rocket hopes to take its readers on a birthday blast—but there may or may not be enough fuel.

Once a year, a one-seat rocket shoots out from Earth. Why? To reveal a special congratulatory banner for a once-a-year event. The second-person narration puts readers in the pilot’s seat and, through a (mostly) ballad-stanza rhyme scheme (abcb), sends them on a journey toward the sun, past meteors, and into the Kuiper belt. The final pages include additional information on how birthdays are measured against the Earth’s rotations around the sun. Collingridge aims for the stars with this title, and he mostly succeeds. The rhyme scheme flows smoothly, which will make listeners happy, but the illustrations (possibly a combination of paint with digital enhancements) may leave the viewers feeling a little cold. The pilot is seen only with a 1960s-style fishbowl helmet that completely obscures the face, gender, and race by reflecting the interior of the rocket ship. This may allow readers/listeners to picture themselves in the role, but it also may divest them of any emotional connection to the story. The last pages—the backside of a triple-gatefold spread—label the planets and include Pluto. While Pluto is correctly labeled as a dwarf planet, it’s an unusual choice to include it but not the other dwarfs: Ceres, Eris, etc. The illustration also neglects to include the asteroid belt or any of the solar system’s moons.

A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-18949-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: David Fickling/Phoenix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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FIVE TRUCKS

Floca (The Frightful Story of Harry Walfish, 1997, etc.) offers a great explication of the small trucks that airline passengers see scurrying around jets on the runways. In brightly painted illustrations and simple descriptions, he introduces each vehicle, explains what it does, and shows it in action, e.g., the truck called the baggage conveyor is shown hoisting suitcases into the belly of the plane. All five trucks’ duties point to a big finale when the plane takes off. Given preschoolers’ well-documented fascination with heavy machinery, this book will strike a chord with young air travelers, and answer the questions of older travelers as well. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7894-2561-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1999

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