THE FLY

A French cartoonist chronicles ups and downs in the life of a fly with clown shoes.

The shoes are only the beginning, as the fly, hatching from a tiny egg (and skipping the larval stage) also sports outsized teeth and a fixed look of wide-eyed, goofy enthusiasm that makes its subsequent adventures all the more comical. In profuse arrays of small, wordless, cinematic panels, nine to a page and all in black and white, Trondheim zeroes in on a kitchen garbage can from which the eager insect, after a false start or two, buzzes off for encounters happy or otherwise with: a window, a decidedly unfriendly spider, a pepper shaker, a cat box, and other joys and hazards of the inside world. Events then take a surreal (not to say cosmic) turn, as the fly grows in spurts to monster size, terrifies a city, flits into intergalactic space—and suddenly finds itself back in the kitchen, fly-sized again and primed for further misadventures. If the last few pages hurtle past like sketchy afterthoughts, this introduction to an insect innocent—who has been entertaining audiences overseas and online since 1995 both in comics form and in a long series of short films—will beguile young readers on this side of the Atlantic as well.

Worthy of buzz. (Graphic fiction. 5-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5458-0708-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Papercutz

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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THE HONEYBEE MAN

Tell it to the bees. The ancient art of beekeeping is alive and well in Brooklyn, N.Y. Fred is dedicated to his bees and greets them each morning on his rooftop. He has named the queens Mab, Boadicea and Nefertiti, after legendary historic figures; the bees are his “sweeties” and his “darlings.” He hums with them as they swarm and flies with them in his imagination as they search for the most fragrant flowers. When the time is right, he carefully gathers their honey, jars it, shares it with his neighbors and, of course, savors some of that luscious honey himself. Nargi’s descriptive language is filled with smell and sound and sight, carrying readers right up to that rooftop with Fred, while seamlessly interweaving detailed information about beekeeping. An afterword of “amazing facts” explains more about apiarists, bees’ life cycles and more, all in light, easy-to-understand syntax. Brooker’s oil-and-collage illustrations, appropriately rendered in greens and browns, golds and ambers, enhance the text beautifully. They accurately depict Fred’s and the bees’ actions while creating a stylized, fanciful view of a homey Brooklyn neighborhood, complete with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge. Even the endpapers are integral to the work, presenting labeled diagrams of bees and beekeeping materials. Eccentric and unusual with an appealing, gentle charm. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: March 8, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-84980-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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

A TRUE HOME

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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