Monday, September 12, 2011

A Few Blocks

My next door neighbor's little girl was on her way to her first day of school today, and she was so proud, sashaying off with a new pink backpack on her shoulders. She didn't seem to have any trepidation about what was in store, but not every child is so lucky. Take Ferdie, the young protagonist of A Few Blocks by Cybele Young. He doesn't want to go to school. Not now. Maybe never.

Big sister Viola doesn't badger Ferdie. She just holds out his jacket and tells him it's his superfast cape. "Quick--put on your rocket-blaster boots and we'll take off!" Their imaginations propel the children for a block until Ferdie's rockets run out of fuel. Each time Viola comes to the rescue, coming up with another exciting adventure that gets them going. They travel by rocket-fueled footwear, by ship, and on horseback. Then, surprisingly, it's Viola who conks out and it's up to Ferdie to keep them going that one last block.

As the children switch back and forth from their magical adventures to the mundane, so do the illustrations. The everyday world is shown in shades of black and white, while their fantasy world is fashioned from vivid intricate 3-D paper sculptures that the artist created. Not surprisingly, Young is an artist who specializes in paper sculture. She has illustrated picture books in the past, most notably Ten Birds, a counting book. In A Few Blocks she refreshingly shows the special bond that exists between siblings.

A Few Blocks
by Cybele Young
Groundwood Books, 32 pages
Published: August 2011


  1. Super adorable! I think my boys would like this.

  2. You know, I've been thinking about starting a blog like this one under my own name. It just seems like a good way to network and learn about the industry (which, given that I'm a college student hoping to become a literary agent, is fairly important to me).

    Do you ever hear from the authors of the books you review?