April 27, 2009

Some Cheery Reviews

It's always heartening to get an uplifting review after the long, long wait for any book to come out. I thought this review from Publisher's Weekly might send the book-maker's spirits aloft. So that's a good sign:

Cromwell Dixon's Sky-Cycle John Abbott Nez. 
Putnam, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-25041-5 
Nez (One Smart Cookie) 

Cromwell Dixon's Sky-Cycle introduces an obscure figure in flight history with engaging artwork that jazzes up this jaunt to a golden age of invention. In the early 20th century, 14-year-old inventor Cromwell Dixon, obsessed with airships like many Americans at the time, begins work on one of his own. He “took apart his old bicycle and rebuilt it in a different way. Land's sake! What a mixed-up contraption began taking shape in the barn.” Despite one major setback and with the help of his patient mother, Cromwell finally pedals his machine aloft over Columbus, Ohio. Set mostly against a robin's-egg blue sky, the detail-rich scenes (Nez even captures the wry expressions of some chickens put out when Cromwell lands on their coop) offer ground-up and bird's-eye views of the action. Nez's direct-from-Main-Street narrative (“that boy had more gumption than a gopher”) and cartoons present a keen, smiling Cromwell not easily deterred—his attitude will be infectious. Brief endnotes and photos of Cromwell, his mother and his flying machine conclude this cheery portrait of “America's Boy Aeronaut.” Ages 5–up. (May)

Also, Kirkus Reviews seemed to think my little book might pass muster: 

Nez, John Abbott 
Illustrated by the author 

This fine tribute to teenage inventors everywhere retraces the true early exploits of a handy Ohio lad who converted his bicycle into a homemade dirigible, then successfully (more or less) tested it out in the skies over Columbus. He even went on to win a prize at the 1907 St. Louis Airship Carnival. The picture of smiling confidence in Nez’s bright painted illustrations, Dixon constructs several ungainly devices with active help from his mother, before wheeling out the sky-cycle and soaring off above crowds of admirers in period dress. 

“Dare to dream” is the clear message here.

So I guess that makes me one happy chicken!

I'll be a guest blogger on the Putnam blog in May, so that's looking like it ought to be fun.


paula said...

Great reviews, John, and well-deserved! I've loved seeing the little peeks of it you've shown us from time to time. I look forward to seeing it in person sometime!

John Nez said...


June said...

These reviews should make you grin widely and feel very proud as both author and illustrator. And I hope there are many more reviews to follow with equally favourable comments.
Congratulations John, and thanks for sharing your book with us along the way.

Phyllis Harris said...

YAY! Congratulations, John!!

Christiane said...

Fantastic reviews!! Congrats!

Stacy Curtis said...

I can't wait to get the book!