A warm reminder that adventures await, no further away than the nearest pillow.

THE LAND OF NOD

A child confined indoors by an injury tumbles off to dreamland in this surreal but comforting edition of the classic short poem.

The mise-en-scène is the illustrator’s invention, as the poem is a generalized rumination. In Hunter’s rendition, the narrator is a white, pajama-clad lad whose condition is indicated by the presence of a crutch and the soft-boiled egg he doesn’t seem particularly interested in eating. Clambering over piles of outsize furniture and household bric-a-brac, the child is joined on a nightly jaunt by several mildly odd toys—notably a disembodied hand and a doll with a conical head—that provide help and companionship until, as a humongous sun rises, the invalid glides home atop a paper airplane. Lit by the huge, lambent moon, Hunter’s neatly limned dreamscapes are more exhilarating than otherwise, even when the accompanying line alludes to “many frightening sights abroad.” The last lines express the narrator’s regret at not being able to return to Nod or hear the “curious music” there, but in token that the confinement is but temporary, the child, hobbled by a heavy cast on one leg, is last seen happily getting paper-airplane “Get Well Soon” notes from friends waiting outside the bedroom window.

A warm reminder that adventures await, no further away than the nearest pillow. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-911171-04-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A delightful if somewhat disjointed story of “Christmas magic” working its charms on a family.

THE BROKEN ORNAMENT

Jack needs some magic to help make this year’s Christmas the best ever.

Shiny, red-foil borders and embossed lettering on the cover invite readers into a suburban household of the mid-20th century. On Christmas Eve, Jack is dissatisfied with the decorating job that he and his parents have done. He finds one last ornament, but his mother says in alarm, “Not that one!” Jack accidentally breaks it, leaving his mother in tears. A tiny fairy called Tinsel appears with tinkly bells to help Jack fulfill his wish. Saying, “let’s deck these halls!” Tinsel tosses glitter, and a large tree bursts through the floor. Caroling elves burst through the door, followed by reindeer, nutcrackers, and snowmen. Double-page–spread illustrations show the house filled with holiday fun. (Children will wonder why Jack’s parents don’t seem to notice it, though.) Jack can’t get enough of the magic, but remembering the broken ornament, he asks Tinsel for help. She can’t give him a new ornament but does offer him a glimpse of his mother’s past that helps Jack understand his mother’s heartbreak and see a way to make amends. Slightly overlong landscape design, old-fashioned furnishings, and endpapers filled with ornaments give this a feeling of personal reminiscence. Jack, his parents, Tinsel, and two of the elves present white, but the third elf has brown skin.

A delightful if somewhat disjointed story of “Christmas magic” working its charms on a family. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4169-3976-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids.

SADIE SPROCKET BUILDS A ROCKET

A little girl’s imaginative plan to become an astronaut and be the first to travel to Mars really takes off.

Together with a crew of stuffed animals (owl, rabbit, and teddy bear), Sadie Sprocket does her research, gathers materials to build her spaceship, and, with support from family and friends—and media coverage—embarks on her historic journey. Rhyming quatrains tell the story of how Sadie patiently reads, cooks, and records important data during the 100-day interplanetary journey. And then: “The Earth behind, so far away, / was now a tiny dot. / Then Sadie cried, ‘There’s planet Mars! / It’s smaller than I thought!’ ” After landing and gathering 20 bags of samples, Sadie and crew are stuck in a red sandstorm while trying to take off again. But with Sadie’s determination and can-do spirit, they blast off, safely returning to Earth with future heroic space-exploration ideas in mind. Spiky cartoons transform a child’s playroom into an outer-space venue, complete with twinkling stars and colorful planets. Sadie presents White while her encouraging fans feature more diversity. An addendum includes brief facts about Mars and a handful of women space scientists. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1803-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more