In his first picture book, Brooks (What Hearts?) serves up a disjointed text, which is overwhelmed by debut artist Pavlov's nostalgic collages of Victorian illustrations. The hand-sized book, jacketed with a frosty transparent cover, resembles a vellum-covered Victorian volume. Phrases like "a piece of the moon/ a part of the sky" and "the sunlight that shone/ long ago in the day" seem to refer to snippets of memories and yet pose riddles. The art, showing angelic, sailor-suited boys and pinafored girls with English rose complexions, is a pastiche of nursery-room motifs, from sweet kittens and dogs to building blocks and dollhouses. The text suggests that readers must fill in the context for the disparate images: "Each piece is a part/ of more left to find/ and whatever's missing--/ is all in your mind." Pavlov works hard to supply the connective tissue--cutouts show a view into a dollhouse; the illustration for "each piece is a part" reveals that the crescent moon on the first spread is actually part of a mobile--but there's a lot more buildup than delivery here. This novelty item may appeal to collectors of Victoriana, but for others, it will be a conundrum. All ages. (Oct.)
Two-time Newbery Honor Winner for his books for young adults, Bruce Brooks here writes his first picture book text, a gentle rhyme: "A piece of the moon/a part of the sky/two words from a tune/a dog passing by." The illustrations, made by scanning and digitally cutting and pasting images from Victorian cards and pictures, show a boy in a sailor suit and a blonde-haired girl, paralleled by another boy and girl inside a playhouse, into which the two larger children look through cut-out windows. There's a surreal sense of playing with images and shifting perspectives here, although the images are sweetly, sentimentally Victorian. The conclusion that "Each piece is a part/of more left to find/and whatever's missing-is all in your mind," suggests that the audience for this book may be sophisticated adults rather than children. Although images of a ball, blocks, dog, and cat and many others recur throughout the book, it is unclear whether there is a pattern or significance to their appearance. The book may provide inspiration for those interested in creating their own collections of images through electronic scanning, cutting and pasting. Undeniably, there is a certain fascination with the pictures themselves, as well as in the kind of playing with images of larger and smaller worlds that would have been familiar to the Metaphysical poets. Perhaps "whatever's missing" is all in the mind of this reviewer.
K-Gr 3-Brooks's rhyming text is intended to express the idea that everything is part of something larger, but it sounds like an outtake from the song "Windmills of Your Mind." The illustrations are computer-generated collages made from Victorian prints and cards, and show a boy and girl at various pastimes and a dollhouse that seems to contain another living boy and girl. Two pages have cutouts that show the children looking into the dollhouse, a novelty that doesn't seem integral to the book. The illustrations are charming in a saccharine way, but it's unlikely that young readers will take a fancy to them. Istvan Banyai's Zoom and Re-Zoom (both Viking, 1995) are illustrated with colorful and detailed line drawings showing how perception changes depending on one's vantage point; they are more creative in concept. Sally Noll's Watch Where You Go (Puffin, 1993) has photographs of a mouse exploring objects that turn out to be different from what they seem at first glance; the mouse gives that book greater child appeal. This ...Piece is not an essential purchase.-Pam Gosner, formerly at Maplewood Memorial Library, NJ
A valentine of a picture book-his first-from Brooks (The Red Wasteland, p. 808, etc.). It's a dulcet rhyme, "A piece of the moon/a part of the sky/two words from a tune/a dog passing by," with each piece being a part of the whole. The whole, in this case, is a delicious computer-produced collage made from Victorian greeting cards, cunningly assembled and repeated. Motifs appear and re-appear: sunflowers and raspberries, doll houses and a carefully hung moon. A golden-haired girl and a boy in a red vest hold tea things or books or paints, all in a jumble of the slightly faded colors of Prang prints. "Each piece is a part/of more left to find" appears over pages with die-cut windows, in a book that, as in Istvan Banyai's works, is more enjoyable with every reading, offering up small visual gems, tricks in perspective, and very dear details. Children will find this appealing, but the book may be tucked into Christmas stockings and slipped into love letters for grown-ups as well. (Picture book. 6-10)