As an author and his dog, Wednesday, walk through their neighborhood, they look at sunflowers, say hi to Frank, a turtle, who makes quick for the water and disappears, and watch a train rumble by as they walk uphill to a big purple house that belongs to their friend Barbara. Wednesday chases squirrels while the two friends discuss fishing and war and how back before the neighborhood was there enormous woolly mammoths roamed where houses now sit.
Thoughts open up to other thoughts, and ideas are born and carried forward, often transforming into other ideas until he finds that ideas really are all around, you just have to know what to do with them. This title has Common Core connections.
"*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.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2015 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Children's book creators are often asked where they get their ideas. What if they run out? "I have to write a story today," Stead (Sebastian and the Balloon) starts. "But today I don't have any ideas." Instead, he takes his dog, Wednesday, for a walk, recording his journey in an unassuming collection of drawings, prints, and snapshots in Polaroid-style frames. There's no drama, yet the pages are filled with incident. He and Wednesday see a turtle and some ducks. Stead exchanges greetings with his friend Barbara, whose wise voice warms the pages. ("It's such a waste," she says when the subject of war comes up. "We could all go fishing instead.") He notices the line at the church's food program. Animals are drawn in close-up, vivid detail (excepting, perhaps, a horse made of blue paint), while the people are small and roughly drawn; they might be anybody, anywhere. Stead's thoughts come to life in lines structured like verse, the animals he sees and words he hears merging into dreamy half-stories. A long, rich visit with Barbara follows: "Did you know that ten thousand years ago this spot was the bottom of a lake?" she asks. As Stead and Wednesday return home, the things they have talked about and the animals they have seen-all the ideas he's collected-follow them in a somber parade. Stead's bits and pieces of drawing and observation, his willingness to lay bare his uncertainty, and his rough sketches of the natural world don't form a polished or seamless whole. Yet their very fragmentariness tells an important truth about the way artists begin to create. Ages 4-8. Agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
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