Review: There is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith


Hardcover, 40 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by Roaring Brook Press
Source: Raincoast Books

When a young boy embarks on a journey alone . . .
he trails a colony of penguins,
undulates in a smack of jellyfish,
clasps hands with a constellation of stars,
naps for a night in a bed of clams,
and follows a trail of shells,
home to his tribe of friends.

If Lane Smith’s Caldecott Honor Book Grandpa Green was an homage to aging and the end of life, There Is a Tribe of Kids is a meditation on childhood and life’s beginning. Smith’s vibrant sponge-paint illustrations and use of unusual collective nouns such as smack and unkindness bring the book to life. Whimsical, expressive, and perfectly paced, this story plays with language as much as it embodies imagination.

Lane Smith’s There Is a Tribe of Kids captures an intrinsic essence of childhood in its pages. With beautiful illustrations, the book follows a kid who has wandered away from his tribe and tries to fit in different places like among jellyfish or penguins. Filled with humour and movement, this book will delight children who will want to form their very own tribe after reading this book. My favourite collection was probably “There was an unkindness of ravens.” Or even “There was an ocean of blue.”

There is a Tribe of Kids is sure to be a favourite with kids who will gleefully turn the pages to find what other family the kid tries to belong to before he finds his own tribe again.