From School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up-"Hope is the thing with feathers," wrote Emily Dickinson. However, in Olmos's book, where poetry is joined with artwork from 12 Mexican illustrators with diverse styles, hope is a thing with claws. The illustrations seem to belong in a New York City art gallery rather than a picture book, but many children will appreciate their complexity. The sweetness of the cover image-children floating on dandelions-does not prepare viewers for the jarring spreads inside. For example, one features a black wolf with burning red eyes and sharp white teeth. Here, the poet imagines a world in which "danger/could be cut into confetti/if only you could find/the right pair of scissors." The voice throughout is tinged with wistfulness, but none of the pictures is easy to swallow. Kids see dark birds perched on disembodied hands and drug lords with scarred, distorted features. After this book is closed, the disturbing images-not the poem-will linger with audiences. Still, the text is brilliant and beautiful and could be analyzed in depth by older readers. Librarians and teachers will need exceptional skill and sensitivity in introducing this title. However, the extra effort will be worthwhile, as peace has never looked as powerful as it does in this book.-Jess deCourcy Hinds, Bard High School Early College, Queens, NYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
The whimsical cover of this unique yet purposeful book suggests a light-filled world where children soar, but the interior view is of guns, drug lords, soldiers, kidnappers, and nightmares. Its scary world is then tempered by alternatives: guns that shoot flowers, drug lords who sell soap bubbles, soldiers who shadow box. Twelve Mexican illustrators, with individual styles varying from cartoon-like to abstract and employing various mediums, have created powerful images that appear as double-page spreads, at times boldly assaulting the eye. The final pages present a hopeful message of survival, going from the darkness of a crushing city pavement to flourishing trees whose green leaves dominate the pages. Definitely for an older audience, this book can be the beginning of a conversation about the problems children face around the world and what can be done to improve their lives. The royalties of this book will move in that direction, going to the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY)Fund for Children in Crisis. Grades 4-7. --Edie Ching