Horn Book Picture Book Awards
2014
The farmer and the clown
Book Jacket   Marla Frazee
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A solitary farmer on an empty plain receives the most unlikely visitor. A tall, scowling farmer labors with a pitchfork on an endless brown field. In the distance, surprisingly, a steam train crosses the horizon. As the train chugs off the edge of the spread, a jolt propels something off the caboose. The startled farmer sets out in that direction. He finds a small clown, wearing white makeup, a red-and-yellow costume and a broad smile. The clown deftly pantomimes having fallen off the trainaction and emotion shine wordlesslyand the farmer takes him home. Silently they stare at each other, eat and wash their faces. Without makeup, the child-clown's smile disappears; is he sad to lose that connection to his home-train, or had the smile been made of makeup all along? With growing tenderness, the farmer watches over his sleeping guest and, come morning, hops and dances to cheer him up. They juggle eggs and share real farmwork until the circus train returns along the distant tracks. Its shape and primary colors make it look like a toy, especially against the soft, textured grays and browns of the farm, skies and earth. Using gouache and black pencil, Frazeea virtuoso of mood and linetakes the surly farmer through bafflement, contemplativeness and true affection.The beauty of an unexpected visit, done beautifully. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781442497443 Appearances can be deceiving in this superb wordless book. A grim-faced farmer comes to the rescue when a circus train hits a bump and ejects a jolly-looking toddler clown. At bedtime, off comes the clown makeup, revealing a scared child; the farmer makes a clown of himself to get a real smile from his guest. A riveting narrative with an impressive range of emotion. (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2013
Mr. Tiger goes wild
Book Jacket   by Peter Brown
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316200639 Mr. Tiger, bored in his very drab, very proper community, drops to all fours, sheds his clothing, and runs wild. This is a book made for storytime, with its bold mixed-media illustrations, and a plot with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Children, who get tired of grownups and their requests for proper behavior, will relate to Mr. Tiger. (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2013
Building Our House
 Jonathan Bean
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780374380236 Bean draws on childhood memories to demonstrate the process of building a house, DIY-style. A little girl narrates the engaging and warm account; the steps are broken down into captions for half-page panels, while moments of greater import, such as setting the corners for the foundation, receive full- and double-page spreads. Family and friends make not just a house but a cozy home. (c) Copyright 2013. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Bean sets aside the urban setting of his Boston GlobeHorn Book Award winner, At Night (2007), in this homage to his back-to-the-land parents, who built his childhood home in the 1970s. Told from the perspective of Bean's older sister, the story revels in the practical work of house-building, demystifying the stages of construction in a matter-of-fact, engaging tone. The oversized, portrait format echoes the height of the house the family builds, but front endpapers first show a vast, rural landscape in the foreground of which lies the "weedy field Dad and Mom bought from a farmer." Frontmatter depicts them packing and leaving the city. Ensuing spreads detail how they live in a trailer on their new property while slowly building the house: setting the corners of the foundation; digging out the basement; gathering rocks and using them in the foundation; measuring, marking and cutting timber for the frame; and so on. The scene depicting a frame-raising party situates the little homesteading family in a loving community of relatives and friends who gather to help; then, right after they all move in, the family grows when both Mom and the pet cat have babies. Throughout, the watercolor-and-ink illustrations invite close examination for narrative details such as these while also providing ample visual information about construction. Raise the roof for this picture book. It's something special. (Picture book. 3-8)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2012
Extra Yarn
 Mac Barnett
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 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)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780061953385 When young Annabelle finds a box containing yarn of every color, she knits herself a sweater. Then she knits one for her dog and everyone else in her colorless town. An archduke steals the box, but the magic doesn't work for him and all is made right. Impeccably paced brown ink and digitally created illustrations pair nicely with the translucent, lightly inked knitwear. (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2011
Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes
Book Jacket   Salley Mayor
2010
I Know Here
Book Jacket   Laurel Croza
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780888999238 A little girl's family is moving from its one-road community in the wilderness to Toronto. The narrative is intensely first-personal, as the girl describes the things and places that matter most to her. While the text is deliberate and declarative, the illustrations are extravagantly expressionistic; round, comforting shapes are everywhere, from the curve of the purple-black road to the communal old-fashioned TV. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Going walkabout down the small stretch of country road that she and her family are about to leave, a child offers a mildly comforting strategy to others who are about to pull up stakes. Her little brother is excited about moving to Toronto, but to the narrator, "This is where I live. I don't know Toronto. I know here." "Here" is rural Saskatchewan, where her family has been living while her father worked on a hydroelectric dam, now complete. Walking from home to school ("only me in grade three") and back, she counts her community's house trailers along the roadside, waves to a familiar passerby and recalls sighting a moose and hearing wolves in the surrounding woods. Her mood lightens at last when she realizes that she can capture and retain at least some of her small world by drawing pictures of it. James's vividly colored, nave-style scenes capture the bright intensity of the child's inner and outer landscapes and also the unaffected way in which she observes them. Good for sharing. (Picture book. 7-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2009
Bubble Trouble
 Margaret Mahy
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780689505577 Fiction: Y Three story poems and two short prose narratives introduce a crazy cast of characters, from a pair of lovesick saurians to a baby wafted away in a bubble. While the madcap pace may not quite match the sustained humor of [cf2]The Blood-and-Thunder Adventure on Hurricane Peak[cf1] (McElderry), the blending of quirkily frenetic line drawings with verbal acrobatics has its own zany charm for audiences with a taste for offbeat fun. Horn Rating: Recommended, satisfactory in style, content, and/or illustration. Reviewed by: mmb (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Mabel blows a bubble that envelops her baby brother, gently wafting him all over the village, causing shock and excitement among the population. Chrysta and Greville Gribble, Tybal and his mother Sybil, the crabby Copples, feeble Mrs. Treeble and Canon Dapple come up with an improbable plan to catch the bubbled baby. Meanwhile, mischievous rebel Abel bursts the bubble with his slingshot and the villagers gallantly come to the rescue by catching him in a quilt. The action moves with breathless frenzy. Mahy is a master at creating verse that is as light and airy as the baby's bubble. Filled with lovely Briticisms, alliterative nonsense words, double, triple and internal rhymes, it's meant to be read aloud"Again!"and will lead both breathless readers and listeners to delighted giggles. The text floats across the pages in waves and arcs, and Dunbar's joyous watercolor-andcut-paper illustrations are wonderfully expressive, a visual treat moving apace with the text. A frothy, effervescent gift. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780689505577 Those lucky enough to have heard Mahy recite it will remember the title poem here, beginning ``Little Mabel blew a bubble and it caused a lot of trouble--/Such a lot of bubble trouble in a bibble-bobble way./For it broke away from Mabel as it bobbed across the table,/Where it bobbled over Baby, and it wafted him away'': a masterpiece of witty legerdemain with sound and sense in a breathtaking score of quatrains involving an entire neighborhood before ``the baby boy was grounded and his mother held him tight.'' The other entries--two more narrative poems and two imaginative tales--aren't up to the same standard (hardly anything could be, even from Mahy), but they're amusing enough, especially a ridiculous tale about an alligator and a crocodile, disguised as the respective grandparents of a courting human couple who fall in love and elope. Acting, for the first time, as her own illustrator, Mahy provides drawings that, while less deft than her wordplay, offer lively glimpses of the author's own insights into her characters. For that hilarious first poem, which should become a classic, a must. (Poetry/Fiction. 8-12)
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780547074214 When Mabel blows a bubble, it causes trouble in an inimitable Mahy way, surrounding Baby and taking him on an amazing adventure. The text's tongue-stumbling internal rhymes will keep storytellers on their toes while Dunbar's cut-paper and watercolor illustrations faithfully depict every detail. As suspense builds in both words and pictures, little ones' eyes will be as round as the bubble. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
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2008
At Night
 Jonathan Bean
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Small in both size and concept, this sweet, gentle story is perfectly constructed and balanced. A girl is awake in her room; her parents and siblings are asleep, but she's lying there thinking. A breeze beckons her, so she—and the cat—bring pillows and blankets up to the building's rooftop. She makes herself cozy amid the hanging laundry and the geraniums, "in the night, under the sky. . . . [and] thought about the wide world all around her and smiled." As she sleeps, readers see her mom, who had heard her stir from bed, sit down beside her up on the roof. Bean's warmly composed pictures of a Brooklyn brownstone are all in deep browns and sepias; the rooftop opening to the river and the sky are in the hazy grays and blues of urban summer nights. The child, her siblings and her mother all have long dark hair; Dad's is curly and lighter. Mom's fuzzy peach robe and dad's flannel shirt are pleasing foils to the solid dark furniture and architectural accents that so suit the house. Quietly lovely. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2007
Dog and Bear: Two Friends, Three Stories
Book Jacket   Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781596430532 As in all successful friendship stories, the balance shifts, with Dog (a dachshund) and Bear (a teddy bear) taking turns being the friend-in-need and the friend indeed. The two are drawn with robust black ink outlines and filled in with paint in five colors using thick, visibly uneven brush strokes, giving the pictures an energetic, endearingly childlike quality. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
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2006
Leaf Man
Book Jacket   Lois Ehlert
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Ehlert's vision and invention do not fail in this clever look at leaves in all their fall glory. "A Leaf Man's got to go where the wind blows" is the refrain, beginning with a recumbent figure made of leaves, with acorns for eyes and a sweet-gum mouth. Ehlert makes all of these marvelous pictures with color photocopies of leaves: the chickens, the fields of pumpkins and squash, the cows and the fish in the lakes that Leaf Man passes over. She further enhances the textured-and-painted-paper background by die-cut edges on the tops of most of the oversized double-paged spreads featuring scalloped rolling hills, pinked sheared meadows and curved rivers. Leaf Man makes his journey, ending in a tumble of leaves with potential for another figure. Beguiled young readers and listeners will be further entranced by the endpapers where Ehlert names the leaves (different on front and back) and the dust jacket where she identifies unknown leaves by place of origin. Excellent to read aloud and to look at many times over. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780152053048 Collages made from color photocopies of leaves, on pages die-cut to suggest layered hills, expertly deliver the delight and imaginative appeal of a crisp fall day. The unseen narrator's search for the wind-blown?""Leaf Man"" entails more leaf creations, whole or skillfully cut to represent, for example, fruit on a tree or fish in a lake or river. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
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2005
Traction Man is Here
 Mini Grey
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780375931918 The title's handsome, square-jawed action figure, uniformed in ""dazzle-painted battle pants,"" takes on many risky assignments. With sly good humor, British author-illustrator Grey gives life both to Traction Man and the young boy orchestrating his adventures. Her illustrations show a cheerfully disheveled home, teeming with raw material for imaginative play. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Traction Man is ready for anything—but can he overcome the gift of an all-in-one knitted green romper suit with matching bonnet? Traction Man is most definitely an action figure, NOT a doll: His accessories include a sub-aqua suit, a space suit, a warfare shirt and a deep-sea diving suit. As narrated by the little boy who receives him for Christmas, his life is one adventure after another, but Granny's gift of the odious all-in-one knitted green romper suit with matching bonnet is almost too much for this doughty hero, until faithful companion Scrubbing Brush leads him to an ingenious solution. The intentionally overwrought voice-over is just exactly right, as are the comic-book style panels and the impossibly square-jawed hero. Occasional full-bleed spreads place Traction Man in his context with his owner (and parental admonishments occasionally and appropriately intrude), but for the most part, he and Scrubbing Brush are allowed the liberty to develop fully in their own right, their owner's imagination giving them all the life their readers will want. An absolutely, hilariously, dead-on perfect celebration of the relationship between child and toy. (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2004
The Man Who Walked between the Towers
 Mordicai Gerstein
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780761328681 Is this another September 11 book? No--and yes. In 1974, Philippe Petit, the French street performer and high-wire walker, couldn't resist the temptation to dance between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Gerstein pulls the reader into the story with a conversational style extended by playful pen and paint illustrations. Like Petit, Gerstein conceals much careful planning behind an obvious enjoyment of his subject. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A spare recounting of Philippe Petit's daring 1974 wire walk between the Twin Towers depicts him as a street performer who defies authority to risk his feat, is arrested, and then sentenced to perform for the children of New York. At the conclusion, on the only non-illustrated page are the stark words, "Now the towers are gone," followed by the changed skyline and finally by a skyline on which are etched the ghost-like shapes of the towers as memory of the buildings and of Petit's exploit. At the heart are the spreads of Petit on the narrow wire, so far above the city that Earth's curve is visible. Two ingenious gatefolds draw readers' eyes into the vertiginous sweep of wirewalker—sky and city below. Unparalleled use of perspective and line—architectural verticals opposed to the curve of wires and earth—underscore disequilibrium and freedom. In a story that's all about balance, the illustrations display it exquisitely in composition. Readers of all ages will return to this again and again for its history, adventure, humor, and breathtaking homage to extraordinary buildings and a remarkable man. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5+) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A spare recounting of Philippe Petit's daring 1974 wire walk between the Twin Towers depicts him as a street performer who defies authority to risk his feat, is arrested, and then sentenced to perform for the children of New York. At the conclusion, on the only non-illustrated page are the stark words, "Now the towers are gone," followed by the changed skyline and finally by a skyline on which are etched the ghost-like shapes of the towers as memory of the buildings and of Petit's exploit. At the heart are the spreads of Petit on the narrow wire, so far above the city that Earth's curve is visible. Two ingenious gatefolds draw readers' eyes into the vertiginous sweep of wirewalker—sky and city below. Unparalleled use of perspective and line—architectural verticals opposed to the curve of wires and earth—underscore disequilibrium and freedom. In a story that's all about balance, the illustrations display it exquisitely in composition. Readers of all ages will return to this again and again for its history, adventure, humor, and breathtaking homage to extraordinary buildings and a remarkable man. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5+) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2003
Big Momma Makes the World
Book Jacket   Phyllis Root
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763611323 Big Momma is large, round, and as unperturbed as the cloud on which she sits; as powerful as her quintessential mother love for ""that little baby sitting on her hip""; as creative as her male counterpart. The superb illustrations surprise the eye with their joyous variety. Among the many creation retellings and variations, this one takes the cake for most lovable, and for most benign deity, too--without sacrificing an iota of authority or reverence. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. In this feminization of the Creation myth, the creator of the world is a woman with a baby on her hip. The baby doesn't slow her down a bit; just like in the biblical version, the creation takes place over six days, with a rest on the seventh. Folksy rhyming verse appears in large type on the verso of each page, with the accompanying recto completely filled by full-bleed, dramatic illustrations. Big Momma's ambitious activities are described in countrified vernacular: "There was water, water everywhere, and Big Momma saw what needed to be done all right. So she rolled up her sleeves and went to it." Her commands take a similar tone; she admonishes the newly created dark and light: "You two got work to do. Don't you be fooling around none." In an echo of the traditional text, she comments at the end of each day, "That's good. That's real good." The acrylic paintings aptly convey the tone of each day's production; they start out monochromatic until Big Momma has created the sun. The subsequent spreads are riots of color: the contented baby sits in a lush green field, munching on fresh fruits on the fourth day; brightly colored fish and birds appear on the fifth, animals blast out of a bright yellow "big bang" and people of all colors appear on the sixth. Big Momma's sense of contentment as she settles in with the new folks to tell stories and rest on the seventh day is contagious; this beautifully illustrated, oversized paean to the Earth and to motherhood is a welcome addition to the creation-story pantheon. (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2002
"Lets Get a Pup!" said Kate
Book Jacket   Bob Graham
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780763614522 Preschooler Kate and her parents are just getting over the loss of the their cat when Kate realizes that what they really need is not another cat, but a dog. Off to the animal shelter they go, where they adopt a puppy named Dave and reluctantly leave behind a large, older dog named Rosy. Dave settles in with the family, but they can't forget Rosy, and the next day, they return to the shelter to bring her home as well. Graham (Max, 2000, etc.) paints quirky people and perky pups in watercolor with pen and ink in an oversized format, and his story is filled with evocative language and the emotions that four-footed friends can elicit. The mother and father in this story are not Ward and June Cleaver: Dad has stubbly cheeks and two earrings, and Mom has a flower tattoo and a nose ring that unfortunately looks a bit like a mini-moustache. Sharp-eyed kids (or concerned parents) may notice that Dad wears a T-shirt sporting a design of a lit cigarette on one page, although Mom wears a T-shirt with a compensatory anti-smoking symbol on a later page. Graham also uses thick, sausage-shaped motion lines to indicate the puppy jumping or Rosy wagging her tail, and several of those motion lines behind a dog's rear will be gleefully (if incorrectly) pointed out by preschoolers as something other than motion lines. (Picture book. 3-6)
Horn Book (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763614522 When Kate and her parents bring bouncy puppy Dave home from the animal shelter, they're still thinking about slow, old Rosy, the dog they didn't choose. But they realize they've fallen in love with her, so they rush back to the shelter where ""Rosy [is] waiting for them."" Cozy watercolors contribute to this story's feelings of warmth, family, and belonging. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780763614522 Preschooler Kate and her parents are just getting over the loss of the their cat when Kate realizes that what they really need is not another cat, but a dog. Off to the animal shelter they go, where they adopt a puppy named Dave and reluctantly leave behind a large, older dog named Rosy. Dave settles in with the family, but they can't forget Rosy, and the next day, they return to the shelter to bring her home as well. Graham (Max, 2000, etc.) paints quirky people and perky pups in watercolor with pen and ink in an oversized format, and his story is filled with evocative language and the emotions that four-footed friends can elicit. The mother and father in this story are not Ward and June Cleaver: Dad has stubbly cheeks and two earrings, and Mom has a flower tattoo and a nose ring that unfortunately looks a bit like a mini-moustache. Sharp-eyed kids (or concerned parents) may notice that Dad wears a T-shirt sporting a design of a lit cigarette on one page, although Mom wears a T-shirt with a compensatory anti-smoking symbol on a later page. Graham also uses thick, sausage-shaped motion lines to indicate the puppy jumping or Rosy wagging her tail, and several of those motion lines behind a dog's rear will be gleefully (if incorrectly) pointed out by preschoolers as something other than motion lines. (Picture book. 3-6)
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763614522 When Kate and her parents bring bouncy puppy Dave home from the animal shelter, they're still thinking about slow, old Rosy, the dog they didn't choose. But they realize they've fallen in love with her, so they rush back to the shelter where ""Rosy [is] waiting for them."" Cozy watercolors contribute to this story's feelings of warmth, family, and belonging. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
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2001
Cold Feet
 Cynthia DeFelice
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780789426369 A wandering bagpiper tugs a handsome pair of boots off a corpse only to find the feet still in them. Willie uses the feet to play a trick on an uncharitable farmer and sees the worm turn when a foot-loose--er, -less--man comes to reclaim his standing. The twists from ghoulish to slapstick to spooky step lightly, and Parker's paintings have a rustic elegance that helps the story keep its shape. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Another hilariously macabre folktale from the creators of Dancing Skeleton (1989). Stumbling over a thoroughly frozen corpse in the woods, down-at-heels bagpiper Willie McPhee tries to pull off its boots, only to have both feet break off inside. When a surly farmer grudgingly allows him to sleep in the barn sometime later, Willie tucks the boots under a cow to thaw, leaves the feet and his old ragged shoes near the cow's mouth for the farmer to find, and hides. Parker's poker-faced, loosely drawn and brushed watercolors capture Willie's misery as he trudges through wintry landscapes, huddles down in the sparsely furnished barn to find what comfort he can, then gravely sets up his gruesome trick. Wait, there's more. Thinking that the cow has eaten the piper, the farmer buries the feet, and then flees in panic when he sees Willie standing on the spot piping a tune. Willie happily moves into the farmhouse, only to open the door that night to a grim looking stranger lacking boots . . . and feet. There the tale ends, but be warned: shivering delightedly, entranced readers or listeners will positively demand to know what happens next, so have some version of "Tailypo" ready as a follow-up. (Picture book/folktale. 7-9) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2000
Henry Hikes to Fitchburg
 D.B. Johnson
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780395968673 In this book, inspired by a passage in Walden, Henry and his friend are two bears who want to go to Fitchburg. Henry sets out on foot, and along the way he makes a walking stick, collects wildflowers, and finds a birds' nest. His friend labors until he has earned the money for a train ticket. The message is pure Thoreau: Henry has had by far the more valuable and rewarding journey. Nattily dressed bears inhabit nineteenth-century scenes in the stylized illustrations. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
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1999
Red-Eyed Tree Frog
Book Jacket   Joy Cowley
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780590871754 Age: PS Startlingly close-up photographs of rainforest fauna depict the nocturnal adventures of a red-eyed tree frog. The simple, aptly paced text relates the hungry frog's search for a meal and his close encounters with dangerous predators, and an accessible afterword provides a good overview of facts on the subject. The engaging narrative and captivating pictures are perfectly attuned to the preschool audience--a rare and noteworthy find in nonfiction. Horn Rating: Outstanding, noteworthy in style, content, and/or illustration. Reviewed by: la (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780590871754 Bishop's spectacular photographs of the tiny red-eyed tree frog defeat an incidental text from Cowley (Singing Down the Rain, 1997, etc.). The frog, only two inches long, is enormous in this title; it appears along with other nocturnal residents of the rain forests of Central America, including the iguana, ant, katydid, caterpillar, and moth. In a final section, Cowley explains how small the frog is and aspects of its life cycle. The main text, however, is an afterthought to dramatic events in the photos, e.g., ``But the red-eyed tree frog has been asleep all day. It wakes up hungry. What will it eat? Here is an iguana. Frogs do not eat iguanas.'' Accompanying an astonishing photograph of the tree frog leaping away from a boa snake are three lines (``The snake flicks its tongue. It tastes frog in the air. Look out, frog!'') that neither advance nor complement the action. The layout employs pale and deep green pages and typeface, and large jewel-like photographs in which green and red dominate. The combination of such visually sophisticated pages and simplistic captions make this a top-heavy, unsatisfying title. (Picture book. 7-9)
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1998
And If the Moon Could Talk
Book Jacket   Kate Banks
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780374302993 Fiction: PS Banks and Hallensleben's third collaboration evokes the powerful bedtime magic of [cf2]Goodnight Moon[cf1]: the opening scene finds a young child in a large but cozy room filled with familiar objects. However, the book then soars out of the house to take in the vast world. Banks's rhythmic text subtly conveys the theme of a great and wondrous world while never sacrificing the comfort and security of parental love, and Hallensleben's rich, luxuriant palette moves adeptly in and out of the home. Horn Rating: Outstanding, noteworthy in style, content, and/or illustration. Reviewed by: la (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Savor the endpapers, which open with a van Gogh-like night scene of muted, window-lit houses clustered around a shining lake. Step into a cozy interior of a child's room at bedtime, inhabited by stuffed animals, a red bed, and an expanse of carpet, radiating all the warmth of Hurd's scene of the great green room. The events here are quiet ones--the ticking of a clock, the reading of a book, the flicking on of a light. Alternating with the interior landscapes is the moon's-eye-view across the globe of other slumber scenes--boats docked at a seaside port, nomads and camels crouched among desert dunes, a lion licking her cubs in a faraway den. A dreaming child blends the two worlds in a caravan of color. Readers and listeners alike will find that the poetic text and molten illustrations glow, ember-like, long after the child of the book has been tucked in and the moon has murmured its good-night. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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1997
The Adventures of Sparrowboy
 Brian Pinkney
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780689810718 Comics, superheroes, and saving the day come together on the route of an ordinary paperboy with newfound powers of flight. Pinkney (Max Found Two Sticks, 1994, etc.) finds trouble on sleepy Thurber Street when a bully named Bruno and his dog, Wolf, stir up the neighborhood. Enter Henry, the local newspaper delivery boy, and something of a junior Clark Kent do-gooder. Without benefit of phone booth or cape, he is zapped by a small sparrow and zooms into the air as Sparrowboy. Inspired by Falconman, a superhero from the pages of the newspapers he delivers, Sparrowboy thwarts Wolf's attack on two local boys, rescues a neighborhood cat from the torments of Bruno, and saves a mysteriously flightless sparrow from the jaws of a cat, returning home where everything feels just a little better. Pinkney's scratchboard illustrations give a nod to comic-strip art by breaking several of the spreads into storyboard panels, complete with headers and action words set into comic-style compositions. Comic book enthusiasts will find plenty of action here and feel just a little better for having curled up with this high-flying armchair adventure. (Picture book. 4-8)
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780689810718 Fiction: PB Henry enjoys the heroic exploits of comic hero Falconman, whose superpowers are bestowed on him by a falcon. So when a little bird gifts Henry similarly, he's soon saving the neighborhood from marauding bullies, menacing dogs, and more. The rescues slyly overlap and dovetail, and in fine comic-strip style, Pinkney lets the pictures do the talking, limiting text to brief action markers, dialogue, and sound effects. Horn Rating: Superior, well above average. Reviewed by: rs (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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1996
In the Rain With Baby Duck
 Amy Hest
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781564025326 Fiction: PS A rainy downpour stands between Baby Duck and Pancake Sunday with her Grampa on the other side of town. Reluctantly, she follows Mr. and Mrs. Duck, who just love all the water. When they arrive, a sympathetic Grampa understands immediately and offers a perfect solution -- a red bunny umbrella and matching boots. Preschoolers will enjoy the large, bright pages and funny pencil and watercolor illustrations of the Duck family. Horn Rating: Outstanding, noteworthy in style, content, and/or illustration. Reviewed by: hbz (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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1995
John Henry
Book Jacket   Julius Lester
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780803716063 Fiction: NF Age: K-3 The original legend of John Henry and how he beat the steam drill with his sledgehammer has been enhanced and enriched, in Lester's retelling, with wonderful contemporary details and poetic similes that add humor, beauty, and strength. Pinkney's evocative illustrations -- especially the landscapes, splotchy and impressionistic, yet very solid and vigorous -- are little short of magnificent. With source notes. Horn Rating: Outstanding, noteworthy in style, content, and/or illustration. Reviewed by: aaf (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780803716063 Onto the page bounds the colossus John Henry, man of legend, man of myth (though the preface keeps things off balance on that point). John was the archetype for the ``Just Do It'' generation; he was all bustle and business, surrounded by an aura of triumph. Lester hits upon all of John's special moments: his stupendous growth spurt; his humbling of Ferret-Faced Freddy; his smashing the great stone so fast that he creates a natty rainbow around his shoulders; and, of course, the climactic duel with the steam drill deep in the hills of West Virginia. John smoked the drill, but his big heart burst in the process. Lester (The Last Tales of Uncle Remus, p. 70, etc.; The Man Who Knew Too Much, see below) wisely makes it clear that you don't have to be John Henry to get things done: You just need the will; there's a bit of John to be tapped in us all. Pinkney's watercolors walk a smart and lovely line between ephemerality and sheer natural energy. The rainbow whispers the lesson here: ``Dying ain't important. Everybody does that. What matters is how well you do your living.'' Amen. (Folklore/Picture book. All ages)
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1994
Grandfathers Journey
Book Jacket   Allen Say
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780395570357 Fiction: I am homesick for the other. I think I know my grandfather now."""" The immigrant experience has rarely been so poignantly evoked as it is in this direct Age: lyrical narrative Say's grandfather travels throughout North America as a young man but, unable to forget his homeland, returns to Japan with his family, where the author is born. Say now lives in California and returns to his native land from time to time. Horn Rating: Outstanding, noteworthy in style, content, and/or illustration. Reviewed by: The funny thing is (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780395570357 ``The funny thing is, the moment I am in one country, I am homesick for the other,'' observes Say near the end of this poignant account of three generations of his family's moves between Japan and the US. Say's grandfather came here as a young man, married, and lived in San Francisco until his daughter was ``nearly grown'' before returning to Japan; his treasured plan to visit the US once again was delayed, forever as it turned out, by WW II. Say's American-born mother married in Japan (cf. Tree of Cranes, 1991), while he, born in Yokohama, came here at 16. In lucid, graceful language, he chronicles these passages, reflecting his love of both countries--plus the expatriate's ever-present longing for home--in both simple text and exquisitely composed watercolors: scenes of his grandfather discovering his new country and returning with new appreciation to the old, and pensive portraits recalling family photos, including two evoking the war and its aftermath. Lovely, quiet- -with a tenderness and warmth new to this fine illustrator's work. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 4+)
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780544050501 As a young man, Say's grandfather travels throughout America, eventually returning to Japan. Say, who lived in California when he wrote this book, finds "the moment I am in one country, I am homesick for the other. I think know my grandfather now." The immigrant experience has rarely been so poignantly evoked as it is in this narrative, accompanied by soft-toned watercolors. This edition includes a one-page introduction by the author. (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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1993
The Fortune Tellers
 Lloyd Alexander
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780525448495 When the poor, hard-working young carpenter seeks comfort from a fortuneteller, the old man hoodwinks him with double talk: ``Rich you will surely be...[if] you earn large sums of money.'' But fate has a more benign trick in store. The cheating seer mysteriously vanishes; his cloth-merchant landlords, supposing that he has transformed himself into this fine young man, spread word of his predictive powers, and the youth is off to a prosperous new career. Meanwhile, the old man has been as unlucky as his successor is fortunate. Alexander narrates his original tale with folkloric verve and his own mellow brand of irony; Hyman realizes the African setting in broad double spreads rich with the lovely patterns and subtle, warm tones of the fabrics of Cameroon. There are also fine touches of humor in these splendid illustrations, and intriguing characterizations--especially of the carpenter, who enjoys his luck without being overearnest about it, and the beautifully individualized figures in the many crowd scenes. A winning tale, superlatively presented. (Picture book. 4-10)
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780525448495 Fiction: PB An unhappy carpenter seeks the advice of a fortuneteller, from whom he hears only what he wants to hear. When he returns and is mistaken for the fortuneteller, he finds the new trade easier than his old and quickly becomes rich and famous. Hyman's rendering of scenes in the central-African country of Cameroon delights the eye. A book that pulses with life and good humor. Horn Rating: Outstanding, noteworthy in style, content, and/or illustration. Reviewed by: ef (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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1992
Seven Blind Mice
 Ed Young
Horn Book (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399222610 Fiction: is able to discern that it is an elephant. The spareness of the text is echoed in the splendid collages. Immensely appealing."" Age: ef In the Indian fable, each blind mouse visits the elephant and declares that he has discovered a pillar, a snake, a cliff, a spear, a fan, or a rope. But a seventh mouse, the only one to investigate the whole Horn Rating: Outstanding, noteworthy in style, content, and/or illustration. Reviewed by: something (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780399222610 A many-talented illustrator (Lon Po Po, 1989, Caldecott Medal) uses a new medium--collage--in an innovative reworking of ``The Blind Men and the Elephant,'' with splendid results: a book that casually rehearses the days of the week, numbers (ordinal and cardinal), and colors while memorably explicating and extending the theme: ``Knowing in part may make a fine tale, but wisdom comes from seeing the whole.'' The mice (first seen as an intriguing row of bright tails on the elegantly spare black title spread) are the colors of the rainbow plus white; they, the white text, and the parts of the elephant (as they really are and as the mice imagine them) are superimposed on a dramatic black ground. The real elephant is skillfully composed with textured and crumpled paper in gentle earth tones; in a sly philosophical twist, the form each mouse imagines is the color of the mouse: e.g., Green Mouse says the trunk is a snake, shown as green. On Sunday, White Mouse (the only female) runs over the entire elephant, getting the others to join her; now, at last, with her help, they all understand the whole. Exquisitely crafted: a simple, gracefully honed text, an appealing story, real but unobtrusive values and levels of meaning, and outstanding illustrations and design--all add up to a perfect book. (Picture book. 3+)
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399222610 Fiction: is able to discern that it is an elephant. The spareness of the text is echoed in the splendid collages. Immensely appealing."" Age: ef In the Indian fable, each blind mouse visits the elephant and declares that he has discovered a pillar, a snake, a cliff, a spear, a fan, or a rope. But a seventh mouse, the only one to investigate the whole Horn Rating: Outstanding, noteworthy in style, content, and/or illustration. Reviewed by: something (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780399222610 A many-talented illustrator (Lon Po Po, 1989, Caldecott Medal) uses a new medium--collage--in an innovative reworking of ``The Blind Men and the Elephant,'' with splendid results: a book that casually rehearses the days of the week, numbers (ordinal and cardinal), and colors while memorably explicating and extending the theme: ``Knowing in part may make a fine tale, but wisdom comes from seeing the whole.'' The mice (first seen as an intriguing row of bright tails on the elegantly spare black title spread) are the colors of the rainbow plus white; they, the white text, and the parts of the elephant (as they really are and as the mice imagine them) are superimposed on a dramatic black ground. The real elephant is skillfully composed with textured and crumpled paper in gentle earth tones; in a sly philosophical twist, the form each mouse imagines is the color of the mouse: e.g., Green Mouse says the trunk is a snake, shown as green. On Sunday, White Mouse (the only female) runs over the entire elephant, getting the others to join her; now, at last, with her help, they all understand the whole. Exquisitely crafted: a simple, gracefully honed text, an appealing story, real but unobtrusive values and levels of meaning, and outstanding illustrations and design--all add up to a perfect book. (Picture book. 3+)
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1991
The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks
Book Jacket   Katherine Paterson
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A cruel Japanese lord is preparing to execute Yasuko, the kitchen maid who set free a lovely mandarin drake the lord had in captivity, and Shozor, the one-eyed servant who tried to take the blame in her place. Providentially, two messengers arrive to take the couple to the Imperial Court: they explain that after a vision of the merciful Buddha, the emperor has abolished capital punishment. Actually, though, the messengers are the duck and his mate in disguise; leading Shozo and Yasuko to a comfortable forest hut, they leave the loving couple there for a long, happy life together. Although the jacket describes this as a folk-tale, LC classifies it as fiction. Whichever, Paterson tells it with subtlety, grace, and her characteristic sensitivity to such troths as that ""trouble can always be borne when it is shared."" The Dillons, who have twice won the Caldecott Medal, have outdone themselves in these elegant, deftly limned illustrations in a Japanese style. In mellow, grayed hues and crisp black, each double spread appears in two borderless panels that allow the eye to make them one without catching in the gutter; the blocks of text are expertly incorporated in the handsome design. An outstanding contribution. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780525672838 Fiction: NF Age: K-3 A graceful, imaginative retelling of a Japanese tale. When a kitchen maid releases a magnificent drake held captive by a cruel lord, a steward accepts the blame; both are sentenced to death. Their miraculous rescue provides an ingenious, satisfying conclusion. The book contains some of the Dillons' most splendid work. Horn Rating: Outstanding, noteworthy in style, content, and/or illustration. Reviewed by: elh (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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1990
Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China
Book Jacket   Ed Young
Horn Book (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399216190 Fiction: NF Age: K-3 Young has given his fine retelling of this Red-Riding Hood variant the look of old Chinese decorative panels. The illustrations throb with the mystery and terror of the wolf and the round-eyed fright of the children. Review, p. 79. Horn Rating: Outstanding, noteworthy in style, content, and/or illustration. Reviewed by: ert (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399216190 Fiction: NF Age: K-3 Young has given his fine retelling of this Red-Riding Hood variant the look of old Chinese decorative panels. The illustrations throb with the mystery and terror of the wolf and the round-eyed fright of the children. Review, p. 79. Horn Rating: Outstanding, noteworthy in style, content, and/or illustration. Reviewed by: ert (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. This compelling tale, translated from a ""collection of Chinese folktales,"" may be the finest book yet from this excellent illustrator--and is certainly among the most beautiful books this year. Three little girls are left alone while their mother, after warning them to keep the door well latched, goes to visit their grandmother (Po Po) for the night. Under cover of darkness, the wily wolf disguises himself as Po Po, prevails on the younger children to let him in, and blows out the candle. But when he doesn't feel like Po Po, the eldest, Shang, contrives to see his hairy face; then she devises a clever plan to trick the wolf and save them all. Another suspenseful version of this tale appeared in Yep's The Rainbow People (p. 774/C-138). Young's graceful translation is both mellower and nobler in tone, while the story is still satisfyingly frightening as the children contend in the dark with the invader. Young's dramatic illustrations, in watercolor and pastel, appear in vertical panels--one or two per page--with some double-spread vistas extending across two or three panels, a device he uses effectively in his wonderfully harmonious designs. The story's terror is both mitigated and enhanced by the artist's suggestive, soft-edged style: there's none of Hollywood's ghoulish precision, but plenty of the mists and shadows where creatures of the imagination thrive--highlighted by the sisters' expressive eyes. A symphony of lovely color progresses from page to page, always related yet fascinating in its variety and contrasts. Even Young's eloquent dedication--""To all the wolves, of the world for lending their good name as a tangible symbol for our darkness""--is perfect. Absolutely splendid. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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