|Ideas are all around|
Author: Stead, Philip Christian
In search of writing ideas, an author takes a walk with his dog around the neighborhood.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 2.90
Points: .5 Quiz: 180458
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: K-2
Reading Level: 1.60
Points: 1.0 Quiz: 68421
Kirkus Reviews (+) (12/15/15)
School Library Journal (00/01/16)
Booklist (+) (12/01/15)
The Hornbook (00/09/16)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/01/2015 *Starred Review* Writing for an older audience than usual, Stead contemplates the idea of ideas, where they come from, and what to do when they don’t appear. His first-person narrative informs readers that it’s his job to write stories, but he has nothing to write about. So he takes his dog, Wednesday, for a walk, during which they see a painted turtle and their friend Barbara. They watch a train go by, and Stead imagines journeys to cities like Chicago and Omaha. They also stop at a soup kitchen where a man in a wheelchair bends down and tells Wednesday, “I used to have a dog just like you!” Stead contemplates typewriters and bird calls, war and water. Then, with so many neighborhood sites sparking his imagination, he is ready to “take a walk on the page.” The book’s conceit is a tad indulgent, and the tone a bit adult. The multimedia artwork, however, is amazing, with photographs, collage etchings, and splatter art (example: a blue splash of paint transforms into a horse) mingling across vibrant spreads. A carefully thought-out design, from typeface to page weight, makes the book a pleasure to look at and handle. This succeeds, as the title says, at showing that ideas are everywhere, and it will spur readers to find creative sparks of their own. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 01/01/2016 K-Gr 3—What does a writer do when ideas elude him? He allows his adorable canine to tempt him outdoors for a walk. Stead writes in the first person, describing settings and the characters he meets: a turtle he calls Frank, who "makes quick for the dark water and disappears"; ducks who withhold any advice they may have; and a wise friend who expresses the titular opinion. The author's voice is introspective, with a tinge of brooding just under the surface that transforms into quiet wonder when experiencing nature, kindness, and friendship. Arranged as blank verse, the sentences appear to have come from a typewriter, cleverly underscoring one of the subjects and metaphors. Stead has a gift for pairing the philosophical with the particular in poetic language; here he muses about war in response to a sign, digresses about birdcalls, and ponders destinations at train tracks. This last part includes a reproach to his dog about not walking on tracks. However, he says, "But we do it anyway." The admonition is probably to appease sensitive adults, but combined with the flippant dismissal, it is a temporary spell breaker. The art is glorious, creatively mixing small photographs—presented as Polaroids—combining handmade monoprint techniques and collage. There is a subtle "fortunately/unfortunately" subtext in the visual and verbal narratives, and while the scenes are unified through a predominance of blue in the sky photos and painted images, the realistic/imaginary contrast supports the other dualities. VERDICT Readers may wonder if this jaunt (and resulting book) is truth or fiction. Regardless, it is a provocative, artful journey.—Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
School Library Journal - 12/01/2016 K-Gr 3—With the unassuming conceit of a woolgathering walk with his dog, Stead provides readers with snapshots of his creative process as he synthesizes seeds of ideas, conversational tidbits, and artful suggestions from the natural world in surprising and delightful ways. The illustrations—a mixture of Polaroid images, monoprints, and collage—are sheer Stead and simply brilliant. - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.