Children will be swept up in Wesley’s vision, and have a fine time visiting Weslandia. An alphabet appears on the endpapers.

WESLANDIA

Wearing purple sneakers and a bemused expression, Wesley knows he’s an outcast: he dislikes pizza, soda, and football, and fleeing his tormentors is “the only sport he was good at.”

When he learns that each civilization has its own staple food crop, he takes as his summer project turning over a plot of ground in the back yard, and seeds brought by the wind begin to grow. Wesley can’t find the plants in any book, but the fruit and the juice are delicious, as are the tubers on the roots.  He makes a hat from the bark and a robe from the inner fibers, and sells the seed oil to his former enemies as a suntan lotion/mosquito repellent. It isn’t long before he’s moved out to the yard, and invents an alphabet and a whole raft of sports for the place he calls Weslandia. In sumptuously detailed illustrations, Hawkes has vividly imagined Fleischman’s puckish text, capturing both the blandness of Wesley’s suburban surroundings and then the fabulous encroachment of the rainforest-like vegetation of his green and growing place.

Children will be swept up in Wesley’s vision, and have a fine time visiting Weslandia. An alphabet appears on the endpapers. (Picture book 5-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7636-0006-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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Though told by two outsiders to the culture, this timely and well-crafted story will educate readers on the preciousness of...

THE WATER PRINCESS

An international story tackles a serious global issue with Reynolds’ characteristic visual whimsy.

Gie Gie—aka Princess Gie Gie—lives with her parents in Burkina Faso. In her kingdom under “the African sky, so wild and so close,” she can tame wild dogs with her song and make grass sway, but despite grand attempts, she can neither bring the water closer to home nor make it clean. French words such as “maintenant!” (now!) and “maman” (mother) and local color like the karite tree and shea nuts place the story in a French-speaking African country. Every morning, Gie Gie and her mother perch rings of cloth and large clay pots on their heads and walk miles to the nearest well to fetch murky, brown water. The story is inspired by model Georgie Badiel, who founded the Georgie Badiel Foundation to make clean water accessible to West Africans. The details in Reynolds’ expressive illustrations highlight the beauty of the West African landscape and of Princess Gie Gie, with her cornrowed and beaded hair, but will also help readers understand that everyone needs clean water—from the children of Burkina Faso to the children of Flint, Michigan.

Though told by two outsiders to the culture, this timely and well-crafted story will educate readers on the preciousness of potable water. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-17258-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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