A lovely, unique contribution.

OUT OF THE WAY! OUT OF THE WAY!

A boy in India sees a baby tree growing by the side of a dusty path, and, because he protects it, it flourishes throughout his lifetime despite the changes to the landscape around him.  

Krishnaswami’s spare text tracks the tree’s growth over time, with the titular refrain “Out of the way! Out of the way!” giving voice to those who hurry past it. Mixed-media pictures inspired by India's arts-and-crafts tradition depict the path turning into a lane, then a street, then a road, signaling the rapid development that transforms the landscape from a quiet, sleepy village into a busy town. Meanwhile, the boy grows into a man, and the tree becomes a meeting place for local people. The message to stop and smell the roses (or enjoy the tree) comes through effectively as spreads become more and more saturated with imagery that crowds out white space. Some readers may be unable to easily identify the boy who leads off the story from page to page, but the text seems less interested in following his character than on attending to the tree’s particular role in providing a place of rest and beauty. And in that, it succeeds beautifully.

A lovely, unique contribution. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-55498-130-4

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Feb. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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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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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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