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A Few Blocks
     

A Few Blocks

by Cybele Young (Illustrator)
 

Ferdie doesn’t want to go to school, but go to school he must, and fortunately his imaginative older sister Viola paves the way. First she urges him to put on his rocket blaster boots, which enable him to leave the house. When he stalls again she convinces him to take command of a ship in search of buried treasure, and at the next meltdown, she tells him that

Overview

Ferdie doesn’t want to go to school, but go to school he must, and fortunately his imaginative older sister Viola paves the way. First she urges him to put on his rocket blaster boots, which enable him to leave the house. When he stalls again she convinces him to take command of a ship in search of buried treasure, and at the next meltdown, she tells him that as a knight, his duty is to fight the fierce fire-breathing dragon who has stolen the princess. But then it is Viola’s turn to fall apart, and Ferdie, following her example, draws on his own inner resources and imagination to keep them on their way. The children’s fantasy world is beautifully illustrated by Cybèle Young’s intricate 3-D paper sculptures, which have been painted with contemporary urban images and then photographed for this book.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Many picture books are built on the foundation of children's boundless imagination, and in her first solo effort, illustrator Young (Ten Birds) handles the theme with exceptional grace. It's time for school, but Viola's younger brother, Ferdie, isn't interested. " ‘Not now,' he said. ‘Maybe never.' " Resourceful and creative, Viola uses Ferdie's jacket, a leaf, and a piece of cardboard to turn their short walk into three heroic adventures, as they become superheroes, seek buried treasure, and prepare to battle a dragon. With dark eyes and wavy hair, the children feel like distant cousins to Saint-Exupéry's Little Prince. Scenes grounded in reality, when Ferdie throws tantrums and Viola tries to distract or comfort him, are painted in gray, conveying the tenor of those moments. By contrast, their colorful, imagination-powered journeys jump off the page. Young's collages cast shadows on the white background below, with silhouettes of curling waves, sea creatures, and blobby monsters painted in pale blues, greens, and reds and filled in with crisp imagery of the duo's urban neighborhood. With empathy and respect for both characters' emotions, Young presents a loving story of sibling camaraderie. Ages 4–7. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
Kirkus Best Children's Books of 2011

"Beautifully illustrated with distinctive etched-paper collages, this is the rare story in which siblings offer mutual support rather than ripping each other to psychological bits…celebrates creative play and sibling cooperation in a way that feels very real." —New York Times

"Young’s latest attempts to be many things–a foray into a child’s imagination, a touching tale of siblings and a stage for the author’s elaborate paper sculptures–and it succeeds masterfully in doing all three…David Wiesner fans should give this a try…Amazing." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Many picture books are built on the foundation of children's boundless imagination, and in her first solo effort, illustrator [Young] handles the theme with exceptional grace." —Publisher's Weekly, starred review

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Young explores the emotional physics of space and time. Ferdie and his older sister should be setting out for school, but he doesn't want to go. "Not now," he says. "Maybe never." But Viola coaxes him into his superfast cape and rocket-blaster boots and off they fly from their room into a fantastic pastel collage in which the ordinary landscape takes the shape of adventure. The unique illustrations are actually photographs of the artist's three-dimensional paper sculptures with copperplate etching. Bits of ordinary on-the-way-to-school landscape-stairways, rooftops, lawn chairs, trucks, garages-appear in the shapes of dragons, sailing ships, and forests of twisted trees. While the plot is interesting, especially when Viola runs out of imaginings and energy, the pictures are what make this book extraordinary. Read it to one child or a very small group so that listeners can discover the intricate worlds within worlds of Young's art.—Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY
Pamela Paul
Beautifully illustrated…a gloriously imaginative meander that celebrates creative play and sibling cooperation in a way that feels very real.
—The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780888999955
Publisher:
Groundwood Books
Publication date:
08/02/2011
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
10.60(w) x 7.30(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD560L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Read an Excerpt

It was time for Ferdie and Viola to go to school. But Ferdie had eleven cars to wash, the highest tower ever to build and a snake drawing that wasn’t done…

Meet the Author

Cybèle Young is an award-winning artist who exhibits her exquisite paper sculpture (Japanese paper printed with etched copperplates) internationally. She has illustrated several books for children, including Pa’s Harvest by Jan Andrews, which was nominated for a Governor General’s Award for Illustration, and Jack Pine by Christopher Patton. She lives with her family in Toronto.

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