September 18, 2017

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Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez | SLJ Review

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redstarALVAREZ, Lorena. Nightlights. illus. by Lorena Alvarez. 56p. Flying Eye/Nobrow. Mar. 2017. Tr 18.95. ISBN 9781910620137.

Gr 4 Up –At Sandy’s parochial school, her talent for daydreaming, doodling, and wandering doesn’t endear her to the strict nuns, whose assignments the girl does her best to avoid. A bit of an outsider, Sandy is delighted when she meets a new friend, a strange, pale girl who gushes over her incredible artwork. As the protagonist’s flights of fancy begin to merge with reality, she must save herself and the drawings she cherishes. The balanced, muted hues of Sandy’s real world contrast dramatically with the lush colors of her hand-drawn fantasies. Alvarez’s artwork is gorgeous, alternating between traditional panels and, in the dream sequences, vibrant spreads that spill from page to page with grace and fluidity. Reminiscent of the charming, cheeky protagonist of Luke Pearson’s “Hilda” books, Sandy is a rosy-cheeked, pigtailed delight, solving her problems with cunning and—coolest of all—math. Readers will want to pore over this book and its many picturesque details again and again. Perhaps those who frequently find themselves with their heads in the clouds will see a little of themselves in Sandy, whose power to build new worlds will inspire others to make their own dreams come true. VERDICT How is this not on your shelf yet? Every library should have this gorgeous first purchase.–Abby Bussen, Muskego Public Library, WI

This review was published in the School Library Journal July 2017 issue.

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