cover image Crosby


Dennis Haseley. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-15-200829-1

Withdrawn, fatherless and adrift, Crosby seems past caring about the world around him--until his chance discovery of a broken kite. As he repairs the kite, learns how to fly it and even brings himself to share it with another lonely boy, Crosby opens up and starts to soar as well. Fraught with emotion, Haseley's (Kite Flier) tale is particularly noteworthy for the poetic quality of the text (""All that afternoon, in all that blue, the red kite hangs like the sky's necktie""). Green's (Father and Son) densely saturated oil paintings make equally intriguing use of metaphor. One memorable scene shows the dreadlocked Crosby at the very back of a crowded math class which is taught by a winged angel dressed all in white; the students' backs are to the reader, but it's clear that the others turn toward the smiling teacher while Crosby looks straight ahead. The incongruity of the image instantly pinpoints Crosby's sense of isolation and his feeling of being completely out of place. It's a thoughtful, unusual picture book, more complex than most, and deserving of a close look. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)