By Matthew Cordell
(Disney-Hyperion, Hardcover, 9781423159063, 56pp.)
Publication Date: October 2012
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Outside the world is bright and colorful, but Lydia's family is too busy with their gadgets to notice. She says Hello to everyone. Hello? Hello! Her father says hello while texting, her mother says hello while working on her laptop and her brother doesn't say hello at all. The T.V shouts Hello! But she doesn't want to watch any shows. Lydia, now restless, ventures outside. There are so many things to say hello to! Hello rocks! Hello leaves! Hello flowers! When Lydia comes back home she decides to show her family what she has found, and it's hello world and goodbye gadgets!
Matthew Cordell's (www.matthewcordell.com/) earliest memory is drawing George Washington on horseback, an illustration that managed to impress his brother's first grade teacher. Ever since then he has pursued his artistic passions, which eventually led him to travel to Chicago, where he met his wife, discovered his love for Children's books and started getting published. He has illustrated many picture books including, Toby and the Snowflakes, and Righty and Lefty. His first authored work is Trouble Gum, which he illustrated himself. He currently resides in the suburbs of Chicago with his wife, Julie Halpern, and daughter.
Children and adults will be able to relate to the main character in this picture book. Although it is populated by few words, the pictures range from very simple drawings to full-color pages. When the little girl greets her mom, Mom replies distractedly as she taps on her computer. When she tries to converse with her dad, he is involved on his phone. Her brother is playing on a video game, so after seeing a leaf blow in she follows it outside and meets all kinds of creatures. When her phone rings, she is able to introduce her family to the great outdoors. Beverly Combs, Librarian, Parsons PreKindergarten School, Garland, Texas Recommended—Library Media Connection
Into a family's device-dominated existence, Cordell inserts this tribute to the realms of nature and the imagination. Lydia, bored with gadgets that fail to activate or stimulate, turns to parents and a brother too immersed in their own digital miasmas to look up. An open door and a fluttering leaf beckon, and Lydia, once outside, encounters a bug, a field of flowers and-leaping from the natural to the fantastic-a horse who greets her by name. In ensuing double-page spreads, the galloping girl is joined by an increasingly exotic horde of animals-from bison to gorilla, T. rex to blue whale. With her cellphone's "RING RING RING," it all comes to a screeching halt, as both parents call her home. Now nature's ambassador, Lydia-always depicted in color against the tonal gray-washes of her home and family-exchanges Mom's laptop for a leaf, Dad's PDA for a flower and brother Bob's tablet for the ladybug that's clung to her dress throughout her adventure. Inked letters toggle between a digital look (for the device-obsessive scenes) and a brushy, casually penned script for the wider world. In the charming penultimate spread, the family (with that ladybug now clinging to Bob) admires the falling leaves; in the last, all four ride careening (or swimming) animals. This wry object lesson blends clever design and a sincere, never-preachy delivery. Terrific! (Picture book. 3-7)—Kirkus
A single leaf blown through a crack in a door tempts a girl outdoors, away from her many screens, in this plug for three-dimensional living. Indoors is awash in gray to convey the monotony of video games that end, computer programs that won't load, cell phones that don't have a signal. The girl tries to "connect" with her parents and brother by talking to them ("Hello, Dad"). But while Dad offers an answering hello, his attention never leaves his smartphone. At first the minimal text includes the tak tak tak of fingers on a keyboard (Mom's) and the zap beep pow of a computer game (brother's). Outdoors, the grayness gives way to abundant color and energetic black lines, while the beeps give way to the sniff of a nose against a flower. Cordell then turns the contrast way up, with the girl's hearty "Hello, world!" and her horseback ride that becomes a parade of animals-antelope, ostrich, gorilla, blue whale, and more-all shouting greeting to one another. Sure, it's message-y, but the message comes with whimsical cartoon art and a keen sense of humor. The ring ring ring of an angry cell phone eventually sends the girl home, but nobody can stay mad-or inside-for long when there are dinosaurs and giraffes out there eager to take them for a ride. christine m. heppermann—Horn Book
K-Gr 6 Bored with her electronic equipment, a girl finds a new world to explore in this nearly wordless picture book. Cordell uses pen-and-ink and watercolor snapshots in a sea of white space to great effect, along with text in an old, impersonal computer typeface, to show the distance between the child and her parents and baby brother, all of whom are absorbed in their own devices. A colorful leaf blows through the door inviting the child outside where she encounters the sunny natural world in a spread that bursts with color. The limited text is now warm and handwritten. The girl says hello to a ladybug, a flower, and a horse. Her imagination soars as she rides the horse through this bright expanse and meets many animals until her cell phone rings. The text goes back to the bland computer font and the page turns white as the horse stops suddenly, bringing the whole experience crashing to a halt. The girl rushes back to frantic, worried parents and the gray, electronic home she left behind. She gives her mother the gift of the leaf in exchange for the laptop, her father a flower in exchange for his phone, and introduces her brother to the ladybug. Together the family enjoys the outdoors. In fewer words than the standard tweet, Cordell shows how members of a family can reconnect. This is a must-have for starting a conversation about what can be experienced and shared with others once the electronic devices are turned off and the imagination is turned on. Kristine M. Casper, Huntington Public Library, NY—SLJ
Cordell (Another Brother) outdoes himself with this silly, loving nose-tweak to digital civilization. Lydia's electronic gadgets fail to charm her one afternoon, and her family members-all drawn in shades of gray-are lost in their own virtual worlds. "Pec Pec Pec," her father texts in an anonymous LCD font. "Zap Beep Pow," chirps her brother's video game. Led outside by a stray leaf, Lydia discovers trees, bugs, flowers, and a horse who knows her name. The outdoor world appears in full color, Cordell's text becomes hand-lettered, and the action unspools faster and faster. The horse carries Lydia through the flowers, picking up by twos and threes an improbable group of animal friends-a fish, a gorilla, a swan, even a whale-who chorus "hello" and thunder across the fields with them, until Lydia's cellphone rings and everything comes to a halt. Fortunately, upon her return, Lydia is able to entice her family outside. The vision of Lydia and her escape is a glorious image of liberation; it's required reading for any kid with a phone. Ages 2 6.—PW