An origin tale as messy as humans can be.

FIRST LIGHT, FIRST LIFE

A WORLDWIDE CREATION STORY

From the Worldwide Stories series

In this multicultural mashup, the duo behind Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella (2007) weaves a wonderfully chaotic creation story.

It all begins with darkness. Fleischman’s retelling then slips through bits and pieces of creation tales culled from cultures originating in Egypt, Mali, the Banks Islands, Israel, and many other geographical locations. Commonalities and unifying themes among the disparate stories soon arise. These threads depend on the details: the first humans born from the tears of the sun god, Ra (Egypt), Quat making the first humans out of wood and bringing them to life with the beat of a drum (Banks Islands), and so on. Woven together, the tales both contrast against and emphasize one another’s specificities. Much of the cohesiveness is due to Paschkis’ folk-art illustrations, which once again shine. Bold lines and vibrant colors characterize most spreads; curves, sharp diagonal lines, and other striking shapes coalesce as each scene spills into the next. One particular double-page spread depicting human-caused destruction (Mozambique) and an angry God setting fire to the earth (Gabon) embodies this pictorial unity to an electrifying degree. Yet the narrative stumbles a bit under its weight. Certain scenes flow better together, while others pull attention in different directions. Still, this wide canvas amazes.

An origin tale as messy as humans can be. (author’s note) (Picture book/folklore. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-101-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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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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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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