cover image Reach for the Stars and Other Advice for Life's Journey

Reach for the Stars and Other Advice for Life's Journey

Serge Bloch, Sterling, $12.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4027-7129-3

The young hero from Bloch's Butterflies in My Stomach and Other School Hazards returns—with a fresh collection of idioms—in this small-format advice book that's clearly aimed at the graduation gift market. Bloch reprises his minimalist mixed-media collages, as commonly used words of wisdom are proffered on each page, with the boy, his wiener dog, and other diminutive characters acting out each phrase. The images are an impish delight: boy and dog ride on a folk art–style donkey figurine ("Dust yourself off! Get back in the saddle"), and they stand atop an open book as they "turn the page on the past." Later, the boy holds a heart to his chest while heart-shaped flower buds grow around him ("It's okay to have a change of heart"). But there's no getting around the fact that the generic sentiments ("[Y]our friends will bend over backward to help you. And soon you'll be rolling in clover!"), though presented in a stylish manner, are no more likely to inspire in the reading than they would if offered in real times of need. Ages 4–up. (May)