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The wall in the middle of the book
2018
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  New York Times Review

FREDERICK DOUGLASS: Prophet of Freedom, by David W. Blight. (Simon & Schuster, $37.50.) Blight's monumental biography describes the context that enabled an escaped slave to become an adviser to President Lincoln and one of the 19th century's greatest figures. Unlike Douglass's own autobiographies, it also recounts his complex relationships with the women in his life. THE SOULS OF YELLOW FOLK: Essays, by Wesley Yang. (Norton, $24.95.) Three essays in this collection mine the question of Asian-American identity. Yang emphasizes the invisibility he often feels, and tries to enter the minds of people like Seung-Hui Cho, who killed more than 30 people at Virginia Tech in 2007. THE LETTERS OF SYLVIA PLATH: Volume 2, 1956-1963, edited by Peter K. Steinberg and Karen V. Kukil. (HarperCollins, $45.) This volume, which spans the period of Plath's marriage until her death, includes more than a dozen letters to her therapist, revealing the hurt and humiliation that fed her final, furious poems. THE NOVEL OF FERRARA, by Giorgio Bassani. Translated by Jamie McKendrick. (Norton, $39.95.) Best known for "The Garden of the Finzi Continis," Bassani retrofits his novellas and stories into a sprawling portrait of an Italian Jewish community destroyed by the historical hatreds unleashed by World War II. INKLING, by Kenneth Oppel. Illustrated by Sydney Smith. (Knopf, $17.99; ages 8 to 12.) The son of a creatively blocked artist tries to work with a magical ink blot to help his dad, but the blot has a mind of its own in this astonishing novel about how we make art and connect with family. THE WALL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BOOK, written and illustrated by Jon Agee. (Dial, $17.99; ages 4 to 8.) A brick wall lies in the middle of each spread in this deceptively simple picture book. A young knight is glad to be protected from the scary stuff on the other side, until a flood carries him over and he sees that there's nothing to fear, and plenty of fun. NOWHERE BOY, by Katherine Marsh. (Roaring Brook, $16.99; ages 10 to 14.) In this hopeful, elegant novel, a Syrian teenager escaping the civil war that killed his family makes it to Brussels, where he befriends a lonely American boy who finds a way to hide and support him for nine months. DOOR, by JiHyeon Lee. (Chronicle, $17.99; ages 4 to 8.) This remarkable wordless picture book bursts with buoyant energy as a boy finds the key to a long-unopened door and makes his way from drabness to a joyful, magical land. DRY, by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman. (Simon & Schuster, $18.99; ages 12 and up.) This propulsive action thriller, set at a time when Southern California has run out of water, explores the price of our collective blindness to impending climate disasters. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web: nytimes.com/books

  Publishers Weekly Review

In this sly fable by Agee (Life on Mars), a tall brick wall runs along the book's gutter, and the action takes place on either side. On the verso, a short, perky knight approaches the wall with a ladder. On the recto, a menacing-looking tiger and rhino lurk. "The wall protects this side of the book" the knight explains, "from the other side of the book." The contrast between the knight's cheery, confiding tone and the outsize dangers supply hilarity, and blocky images in faded hues soften potentially scary moments. As the animals flee, the knight's side of the wall starts to fill up with water. "The most dangerous thing on the other side of the book is the ogre," the knight says from his ladder, oblivious to the deepening flood, finger raised in emphasis. Enter the ogre-uh oh. As ever, Agee nails pacing and punch lines, making inventive use of the famous fourth wall as a literary device (and giving the book a new wall altogether). Most satisfying is his gentle reminder that preconceived notions about things and people, over a boundary or otherwise, are often distinctly wrong. Ages 4-8. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 3-There's a wall in the middle of this book. And it's a good thing, because it protects one side of the book from the other side. Or, at least that's what the hero of the book, a young knight, thinks. As the knight warns readers about all of the dangers on the other side of the wall-like tigers and mean ogres-he remains oblivious to the rising water and crocodile who are sneaking up behind him on his side of the wall. Before the water engulfs him completely, the knight is rescued by a surprising savior, and he soon learns that things may not be so bad on the other side of the wall after all. The knight's journey reminds readers that instead of building walls, we should be tearing them down in order to understand who or what is on the other side. Agee's simple illustrations combined with his trademark humor and ability to let readers in on a secret that the protagonist knows nothing about, combine to solidify him as a hilarious picture book master. VERDICT A silly read-aloud with an important message. A solid choice for storytime and one-on-one sharing.-Elizabeth Blake, Brooklyn Public Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Summary
A foolish knight is certain that his side of the wall is the safe side in this clever, amusingly meta picture book by the acclaimed creator of It's Only Stanley <br> <br> There's a wall in the middle of the book, and our hero--a young knight--is sure that the wall protects his side of the book from the dangers of the other side--like an angry tiger and giant rhino, and worst of all, an ogre who would gobble him up in a second! But our knight doesn't seem to notice the crocodile and growing sea of water that are emerging on his side. When he's almost over his head and calling for help, who will come to his rescue? An individual who isn't as dangerous as the knight thought--from a side of the book that might just have some positive things to offer after all!
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