Feel the Fog by April Pulley Sayre

Feel the Fog cover image

Feel the Fog by April Pulley Sayre (9781534437609)

This is the fourth book in the Weather Walks series, following books on snow, rain and autumn. Here the phenomenon of fog is explored in all of its mysterious qualities. Fog rolls in, covering stone and forests. It covers up details of the landscape, making lights dim. The fog is cold and dewy. It coats spiderwebs and drips. The picture book goes on to explain why fog forms and the variety of places where fog is most likely to appear. It’s a misty, moist beautiful exploration of fog.

Sayre excels at mixing poetry with facts. She creates a sense of wonder and fascination with weather and its various forms. Her poem keeps the foggy facts accessible for small children, inviting them to explore and experience fog themselves. The end of the book includes an author’s note on fog and water vapor, explaining in more detail how fog forms and why it acts and feels the way it does.

As always, Sayre’s photographs are exceptional. She has so many images of fog here, from fog entering landscapes to close-ups of animals and creatures in the fog, both cloaked by it and clear against the foggy backgrounds. It is like taking a walk with her through the fog, as she shows you all of its wonders.

Beautiful and mysterious, explore the fog in this nonfiction picture book. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Beach Lane Books.

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

The Magic Fish cover image

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen (9780593125298)

Tiến loves to spend the evening together with his mother reading from a book of fairy tales. He reads while his mother continues her work as a seamstress, sometimes fixing Tiến’s clothing too. They don’t have much money, so Tiến’s jacket is full of patches. Happily, his friends don’t mind, not even the boy who Tiến has a crush on. As they share the tales, Tiến is searching for a way to share with his parents that he is gay, but they don’t speak English well, and he can’t find the right word in Vietnamese. When his grandmother dies in Vietnam, his mother leaves to prepare her funeral. Tiến is left behind to navigate his first school dance, where his teacher becomes concerned and he is sent for church counseling. What will his mother say when she finds out?

It is remarkable that this is a debut graphic novel. It is done with such finesse, weaving the fairy tales and the modern world together into a place full of possibility and transformation. The stories shared include versions of Cinderella and The Little Mermaid, versions that grow and change themselves with endings that will surprise those who know the better-known stories. In this way, the author creates real hope on the page, that things will change, that love will prevail and that understanding will flourish, both through tales and in real life.

The art here is unique and exquisitely done. Using color to tell readers whether they are seeing the real world in the present, a flashback or a fairy tale, the effect is both dramatic and clarifies the borders between the various stories. The fine-line work here is beautiful, from each hair on the character’s heads to gorgeous dresses that swirl across the pages to dramatic landscapes and undersea worlds.

A great graphic novel that is about diversity, acceptance and the power of stories to bring us together. Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Random House Graphic.