FROM WALL TO WALL

Inspired by the emotional barriers of humans, Kuklin’s (Harlem Nutcracker, 2001, etc.) latest photo essay focuses on the form and function of walls. The theme “We share walls” repeats throughout as photographs framed in black stand out against muted images and earth-toned blocks of color. The opening spread, for example, shows “The Algarve,” a building in southern Portugal. A deep-green wall cuts diagonally across the navy sky; a white turret punctuates the center. On the next spread, a winding wall borders a French village (“Some are / old and thick / and made / of stone”) and a glass wall rises above a New York City rooftop (“Some are / clear and thin / for the sky / to come in”). Throughout, Kuklin juxtaposes ancient (the Lascaux caves painted by Cro-Magnons) and modern (a wall in Soho, New York, decorated with a trio of images of a human form running, jumping, and leaping into the air); the ephemeral (sandcastles in Southampton, Long Island) and the seemingly rock solid (a weather worn facade of an Italian building). Some, like the colorful school yard mural in Harlem and a memorial to a departed pet are simple celebrations while others such as the Great Wall of China signify larger cultural and political themes (“Fortress — / barricade — / rampart — / fence. / a wall / can separate / a very large / space”). Large print and bold layout make for a pleasing visual presentation. Labels identify the location where each photograph was taken while an Author’s Note provides additional details. Kuklin’s thoughtful exploration of these human-made creations is sure to inspire discussion. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-23492-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2002

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Celebrated collaborators deliver another thoughtful delight, revealing how “making marks” links us across time and space.

CAVE PAINTINGS

A trip to grandmother’s launches light-years beyond the routine sort, as a human child travels from deep space to Earth.

The light-skinned, redheaded narrator journeys alone as flight attendants supply snacks to diverse, interspecies passengers. The kid muses, “Sometimes they ask me, ‘Why are you always going to the farthest planet?’ ”The response comes after the traveler hurtles through the solar system, lands, and levitates up to the platform where a welcoming grandmother waits: “Because it’s worth it / to cross one universe / to explore another.” Indeed, child and grandmother enter an egg-shaped, clear-domed orb and fly over a teeming savanna and a towering waterfall before disembarking, donning headlamps, and entering a cave. Inside, the pair marvel at a human handprint and ancient paintings of animals including horses, bison, and horned rhinoceroses. Yockteng’s skilled, vigorously shaded pictures suggest references to images found in Lascaux and Chauvet Cave in France. As the holiday winds down, grandmother gives the protagonist some colored pencils that had belonged to grandfather generations back. (She appears to chuckle over a nude portrait of her younger self.) The pencils “were good for making marks on paper. She gave me that too.” The child draws during the return trip, documenting the visit and sights along the journey home. “Because what I could see was infinity.” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.8-by-19.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 85% of actual size.)

Celebrated collaborators deliver another thoughtful delight, revealing how “making marks” links us across time and space. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77306-172-6

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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A powerful retrospective glimpse at a key event.

LET THE CHILDREN MARCH

A vibrantly illustrated account of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade through the eyes of a young girl who volunteers to participate.

Morrison’s signature style depicts each black child throughout the book as a distinct individual; on the endpapers, children hold signs that collectively create a “Civil Rights and the Children’s Crusade” timeline, placing the events of the book in the context of the greater movement. When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. comes to speak at her church, a girl and her brother volunteer to march in their parents’ stead. The narrative succinctly explains why the Children’s Crusade was a necessary logistical move, one that children and parents made with careful consideration and despite fear. Lines of text (“Let the children march. / They will lead the way // The path may be long and / troubled, but I’m gonna walk on!”) are placed within the illustrations in bold swoops for emphasis. Morrison’s powerful use of perspective makes his beautiful oil paintings even more dynamic and conveys the intensity of the situations depicted, including the children’s being arrested, hosed, and jailed. The child crusaders, regardless of how badly they’re treated, never lose their dignity, which the art conveys flawlessly. While the children win the day, such details as the Confederate flag subtly connect the struggle to the current day.

A powerful retrospective glimpse at a key event. (timeline, afterword, artist’s statement, quote sources, bibliography) (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-70452-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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