The Latest In Progress
Who would have thought a picture book biography of Wangari Maathai could be so fresh? Rather than focusing simply on her tree planting, this French import looks at social and political issues, providing a much broader introduction both to Kenya and to the woman who won a Nobel Peace Prize for her work. The stylized art appealingly supports her story and the extensive back matter makes this a rich resource for older readers. K. Isaacs. (7-10)
Stick and Stone are not much when they are alone, but when they meet and become fast friends, adventures ensue. The value of friendship and what it means to be a true friend is depicted in this story that is appropriate for beginning readers with concise, rhyming text that makes it a terrific read-aloud, too. The warmth of the muted color pallet combined with the expressiveness and energy of the illustrations perfectly match the text. Plenty of humor and drama makes a story that starts as “a zero” and “a one” end in “a perfect 10,” just like Stick and Stone’s friendship. Up to Seven. –Summer Rosswog
A man exits his house one morning to find a skunk has appeared on his doorstep, and the striped creature follows behind him wherever he goes--until the man finally tricks the skunk and turns the tables. Barnett chooses the story's words carefully, often mimicking its off-kilter events. The familiar illustrations perfectly match the slightly uneasy tone of the book. The ambiguous ending allows readers to imagine what may come next. Up to Seven. -Todd Krueger
Delphine and her sisters head south to give their pregnant step mother some peace and quiet. Life in Alabama with their grand-mother, great grandmother and other relatives is anything but quiet. There is lots of drama between the grandmother and grand-aunt, fueled by Violetta who carries tales back and forth between them. The dynamics of the family are very real. One of the most touching moments is when Delphine sees her parents being tolerant of each other (she only remembers the fights). A family story that rings true. Edie Ching, 10-14.
Black and white pen and ink drawings exquisitely executed by Myers pay homage to the simple creativity a pen affords, in the hands of an accomplished artist. The drawing of his father, Walter, on the third page is a nice tribute to a man that inspired him. Ages 7-10 Maria E. Gentle
Can we face thinking about winter? In this grand superhero spoof a lowly garbage truck saves the day when snow falls deeply and he acquires a powerful plow. The humor for the adult reader is delightful, as Supertruck sneaks into a garage, removes his glasses and dons his plow. The world Savage creates is all boxes, lines, and occasional circles. He uses light, color, and perspective to add interest. This is both simple and effective in that it lets preschool listeners in on the truck's secret. Up to seven. K. Isaacs