Hand Book

Jeff Newman, Illustrator
Jeff Newman. Simon & Schuster, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4169-5013-4
Reviewed on: 06/06/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 256 pages - 978-1-4424-3558-2
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Telegraphic verse and line drawings celebrate the many things hands can do. "Two hands clap" is pictured by a pair of chubby orange hands emerging from the bottom of the left-hand page; for "Two hands slap," at right, the same two arms land on a pair of bongos from the top of the page. Heads and faces are drawn without features, or facing away from the reader, to assure that the reader's gaze stays focused on the hands. In what is perhaps the book's smartest design decision (though there are many), Newman's (The Boys) loose black outlines have been subtly embossed, making the reading experience a fittingly tactile one. "Hands shake," writes Newman late in the book, as a blue hand shakes an orange hand; on the next page ("and hold"), two blue and orange figures—the owners of the hands, clearly—are shown walking through a garden in a gentle antiracist message. Newman challenges readers to consider their hands as intricate and capable tools, instruments of emotion, creation, and tenderness; children will almost certainly see them with new respect. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)
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