When Zane goes rambling, his friends call him crazy and refuse to play along. When he finds a shining star, it doesn't bother him when his friends try to tell him it's just a hubcap. Undaunted, Zane uses his finds to create a secret project that piques his friends' curiosity. After watching him ramble around the neighborhood, finding magic in the ordinary, his friends are eventually drawn into his imaginative game. Through the book's art, attentive readers will see that Zane is using his finds to create a pirate...
When Zane goes rambling, his friends call him crazy and refuse to play along. When he finds a shining star, it doesn't bother him when his friends try to tell him it's just a hubcap. Undaunted, Zane uses his finds to create a secret project that piques his friends' curiosity. After watching him ramble around the neighborhood, finding magic in the ordinary, his friends are eventually drawn into his imaginative game. Through the book's art, attentive readers will see that Zane is using his finds to create a pirate ship, and once his friends realize what he's up to, even the most skeptical realists join the fun and sail the afternoon away. Zane's imagination sees the cowpoke's lasso in a piece of vine, the pirate's golden ring in an old pop top, and many other treasures that have been stolen from today's children by electronic entertainment. Rambling enforces the joy of imaginative play.
K-Gr 4—This story follows the pattern of Valine Hobbs's poem "One Day When We Went Walking," but the variations make the rhythm awkward in places. Still, the rhyming and the repetition add to the magical feeling of the tale. An imaginative protagonist sees magic in everyday objects, but friends point out each find's mundanity. Hobbs determines to avoid these pessimists, but Bennett finds a happier solution, inspiring friends to join in the game of pretend. Boys and girls cast aside their mockery one by one until the entire group is playing pirate in an old packing crate. The final page abandons the rhyme pattern with the exclamation, "Hey! What's that?" perhaps meant to draw readers into the game of identifying old junk as magical items. The stylized, jagged artwork is full of color and movement, and the name for each treasure is drawn across the scene with playful, multicolored lettering. Black-and-white insets give a washed-out look to the naysayers as they mock their dreamer friend, Zane. This is a fun paean to imaginative play. Combine it with Alice McLerran's Roxaboxen (1991) and Antoinette Portis's Not a Stick (2008, both HarperCollins) for more inspiration to go out and play.—Heidi Estrin, Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
A young collector repurposes found junk, bringing his scoffing peers along on a flight of fancy. To Zane a hubcap is a "flying saucer's crest," a brown bag with armholes becomes a warrior's shield and other litter is similarly transformed. Initially dismissive, the other kids in his urban neighborhood are soon marching along behind brandishing their own finds--and gathering at last aboard a packing-crate "ship" constructed in an empty lot. Though thematically kin to Antoinette Portis' Not a Box (2006) and other celebrations of imaginative play, it's a poor relation. Bennett's rhyming cadences are occasionally forced: "One day I went rambling / and found a long lasso." Moreover, the multicultural cast of children in Murphy's seedy settings have oddly misshapen facial features, and one discovery ("Hey! What's that?") is rendered as a visual jumble that will leave readers confused about what they're supposed to be seeing. A worthy but not uncommon premise, developed elsewhere with better writing and art. (Picture book. 5-7)
Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)
Meet the Author
Kelly Goldman Bennett writes fiction and nonfiction books for children. Her other books, including Not Norman, A Goldfish Story (Candlewick), Dad and Pop (Candlewick), Your Daddy Was Just Like You (Putnam), and Dance, Y'all, Dance (Bright Sky Press), celebrate families, dancing, friends, pets, and all that goes into being a kid. Books for older readers, coauthored as "Jill Max," take on taller subjects. These include Spider Spins a Story: Fourteen Legends from Native America and Strangers in Black, a Cambodian survival story. Honors for her published works include: Oklahoma Book Award Finalist for Spider Spins a Story; Texas Institute of Letters Best Children's Book of 2005 for Not Norman, A Goldfish Story. Not Norman also received a Children's Choice Award and Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Medal Award. Dad and Pop and Your Daddy Was Just Like You are USA Today's featured Father's Day books.