The book demands familiarity with the films; the youngest Star Wars fans will find much to pore over.

STAR WARS BLOCK

OVER 100 WORDS EVERY FAN SHOULD KNOW

From the Block Books series

A compendium of people, places, and things found in the Star Wars movies.

After a brief two-paragraph introduction resembling the movies’ iconic text crawl, readers meet a variety of characters, from The Phantom Menace to The Force Awakens, with a nod to Rogue One. As with other Block Book titles, this is organized in sequences of double-page spreads. The first spread shows a close-up (BB-8, for example), with the recto’s edge cut to outline it. On the following pages, the camera pulls back to a scene with other characters (Unkar Plutt, a happabore) and their vehicles (a speeder) or accessories; an icon with the planet’s name (Jakku) floats against the scene. While the shaped pages provide some page-turn ease, the visuals and text from the next spread peek through, to sometimes-confusing effect; Han Solo looks as if he is as large as the Millennium Falcon, for instance. Peskimo’s illustrations are the stars here, creating friendly heroes and softening the villains (particularly Darths Maul and Vader) with swaths of flat, muted, subtly textured colors. A final double gatefold shows sundry villains all captioned “Fear,” while the inside, labeled “Hope,” presents a gallery of human, alien, and droid heroes. Here’s hoping the 2-inch-thick binding will hold up to the enthusiasm of young fans.

The book demands familiarity with the films; the youngest Star Wars fans will find much to pore over. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2831-0

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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A peaceful, wordless adventure that, as the final frames hint, will continue after it’s closed.

RED AGAIN

Through a magical book, two faraway children meet.

This wordless picture book picks up directly where The Red Book (2004) left off: the third illustration in this is almost identical to the last one in the previous, with a tiny smile added. This time, a black child wearing a blue hoodie and glasses is the finder of the titular red book. The child bikes home through city snow and climbs the stairs of a quirky, cupola-topped house. Opened, the red book’s pages feature increasing close-ups that reveal a beige-skinned child in a fishing boat afloat off a faraway island. That child pulls in a similar red book from the sea and opens it to see the bespectacled city kid back at home. They’re looking at each other! Wordlessly, they form a mutual fondness. The kid in the boat finds an ingenious way to cross the world to their new friend—not through the book (it’s not that kind of magic) but, delightfully, towed by a pelican. There’s sadness and doubt during a brief period when the kids can’t see each other, and then there’s joy. Lehman’s illustrations are structured like comic panels, varying in size and shape and surrounded by white space; in watercolor, gouache, and ink she shows figures and landscapes with gentle textures and neat black outlines.

A peaceful, wordless adventure that, as the final frames hint, will continue after it’s closed. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-81859-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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This bird’s-eye view of famous fictional settings is not without its turbulent moments.

COME, READ WITH ME

A fast flight through the settings of famous children’s stories.

This title begins with the happy faces of two young children—one with dark-brown skin and curly black hair and the other with lighter-brown skin and straight black hair. As the pages go by, the children explore the imaginary lands of famous fairy tales and stories. Full of smiles, the two friends travel through sea and air, pass castles and candy houses, and have tea in Wonderland. While the illustrations are double-page spreads pleasingly full of color and detail, it is the syncopation (or lack thereof) that makes the story awkward. “And a jungle of wild things who march to their very own beat. / Oh, the places we’ll go, the things you will meet.” With an uneven meter, the verses defy easy scansion. The literary references scale from short nursery rhymes, like “Humpty Dumpty” for the very young, to complex stories for older readers, like Charlotte’s Web and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The two characters just observe these places while the references whiz by, with up to five stories mentioned on a page; when copyrighted characters are depicted, they (appropriately) often look nothing like what children familiar with them will expect. Despite the potential for confusion, this title does pay homage to the wonderful world of imagination found in children’s books.

This bird’s-eye view of famous fictional settings is not without its turbulent moments. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1787-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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