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A Few Blocks
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A Few Blocks

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  168 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Ferdie doesn’t want to go to school, but go to school he must, and fortunately his imaginative older sister Viola paves the way. First she urges him to put on his rocket blaster boots, which enable him to leave the house. When he stalls again she convinces him to take command of a ship in search of buried treasure, and at the next meltdown, she tells him that as a knight, ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published August 2nd 2011 by Groundwood Books
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The illustrations are wonderfully inventive and marvelously original. I spent a lot of time looking and looking at how Young used the "real life" details to create the components of their imaginary reminds me in that respect of Shadow by Lee. However, I felt the story was a little weak on rationale. WHY doesn't he want to go to school, WHY is it the big sister's (and not the parent's) responsibility to cajole him along, WHY does this resourceful sister suddenly poop out, WHY don't the ...more
Jan 07, 2012 Rebecca rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Rebecca by: Robin
Thanks to Robin for pointing this book out to me! The artist uses an unusual combination of delicate copperplate etchings and paper sculpture. A little boy doesn't want to go to school, and his sister cajoles him through the few city blocks with imaginary quests. The paper cuttings take the shape of their imagined worlds (a dragon, a rocket ship) while the etchings on the paper still show the cityscape. It's a great use of art to represent the parallel real/imagined worlds, and I haven't seen an ...more
Michelle McBeth
It is time to go to school, but Ferdie does not want to go. So his sister helps motivate him by entering the world of imagination and inviting Ferdie along. When he gets tired and sits down again on the way, she makes up a new make believe scenario each time until they make it to school.

I very much enjoyed Young's, A Few Bites in which the sister encourages her brother to eat his lunch. But this story lacked the good plot flow and I felt dragged down by Ferdie's attitude. I felt like he was bein
Victoria Whipple
When I saw the cover of this book, the illustrations of the children reminded me of one of my favorite books from my childhood "A Hole is to Dig" by Ruth Krauss and illustrated by Maurice Sendak so I had to pick it up. Little Ferdie didn't want to go to school, he had too much playing to do. So his big sister Viola had to coax him to get dressed and walk the few blocks to school. She used the magical power of imagination to get him going, and to keep him going all the way. The ink and watercolor ...more
Amy Musser
It’s time for Ferdie and his sister Viola to walk to school, but Ferdie doesn’t want to go, “Not now. Maybe never.” He has lots of things to do at home, pictures to draw and towers to build. But Viola knows just what to do. She holds out Ferdie’s coat and tells him it’s a superfast cape! If he puts on his rocket-blaster boots they’ll get to school in no time. Off they blast, flying over buildings and streets until Ferdie runs out of rocket fuel. He doesn’t want to go to school, “Not now. Maybe n ...more
It was time for school, but Ferdie did not want to go to school. He wasn’t done playing with his cars, his blocks, or his drawing. In fact, he was not sure he ever wanted to go to school again. But Viola held up his coat, called it his cape and invited him to blast off with his rocket-blaster boots. They fought evil until Ferdie’s boots ran out of fuel. Ferdie sat down and once again announced that he wasn’t going to school, maybe not ever. Viola discovered a leaf in the gutter and invited Ferdi ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Even if I’d not read the publishing information or the information about the author, one look at this book would have told me that this book was not made here in America; the book has an air of foreign exoticism that I like.

A boy and his sister are preparing to go to school, but the boy does not want to go. The sister encourages her brother by pretending with him that they are superheroes and pirates and a knight and princess. When, at the end of the road, the sister begins to falter, her brothe
I picked up this book because it was on the "Featured Picture Books" shelf at the library and I figured "blocks" meant building blocks and therefore the book might be baby-friendly. Nope! "Blocks" in this case are city blocks. I checked it out anyway, though, because I wanted to get a better look at the illustrations.
The illustrations in this book are great. They are delicate and elaborate and have a distinctly "foreign" feel. The illustrations reminded me of a Japanese graphic novel. I love how
It's time to go to school but Viola's little brother Ferdie does not want to go. But when Viola finds Ferdie's super fast cape he can't help himself. He flies over the tallest buildings, knocking out evil as they go. When his feet hit the ground he once again refuses to go to school. Viola notices a ship is leaving to find buried treasure. Well, of course Ferdie wants to find treasure. Off he goes!

So the story continues until all of a sudden, after being rescued from a fire-breathing dragon, Vio
It's time for Viola and Ferdie to go to school but Ferdie doesn't want to go. Viola comes up with some great ways to get her little brother to walk to school.
Alicia Scully
Ferdie doesn't want to go to school at all and he dreads his sister Viola telling him to go. He vows to stay put and never move and Viola has to tell him that he must do extravagant things like save a princess and search for buried treasure to get him to move. There's only a few blocks to get to school and the two siblings will have to use their imaginations to get through it.

The illustrations are amazing. The real world is in blacks and gray blues while those in their imaginations are in vibra
a brother who doesn't want to school is willing to go because his big sister helps him out...
An absolutely gorgeous brother, sister, going to school, wild imagination book.
When Ferdie is reluctant to go to school, his older sister Viola knows just how to handle him. Clearly, this has happened before, and she cleverly turns his jacket into a cape, a leaf into a ship, cardboard into a shield on the way to school. Just when they've almost made it to the school doors, she needs a nudge of her own. The 3-D paper sculpture illustrations of the children's fantastic imaginationary adventures are incredibly intricate and colorful and provide vivid contrast with the simple ...more
A young boy Ferdie doesn't want to go to school, but his older sister encourages him along the few endless blocks with flights of fancy and imagination. Lovely illustrations.
Absolutely wonderful illustrations. A fantastic book for my classroom's imagination unit - the illustrations are so imaginative, clever, and creative...very light and subtle, though.
I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book. A great book about the power of a good imagination. I loved the illustrations. Simple and then complex, black and white and then very colorful. My friend Gabby said she wanted to have a baby just so she could read this book to her kid. She would give it seven stars. She even wrote down the website so Cybele be watching for her if you read this. I told her just go out and buy it.
Gwen the Librarian
I really like this story of siblings helping each other. Ferdie doesn't want to go to school, but his big sister knows how to get him moving...she stokes his imagination all the way, not without a few hiccups, until finally, it is Ferdie's turn to help Viola find inspiration. The illustrations are old-fashioned, reminiscent of Charlotte Zolotow, black and white until inspiration strikes, and then all the colors of the rainbow.
Gorgeous watercolor illustrations and a stark white layout combine to create an imaginary landscape that matches the yarn sister spins to get brother to leave for school. School is just a few blocks away. She starts him off by holding up his jacket and boots and calling them his "superfast cape and rocket-blaster boots". And that begins an imaginary adventure shown in planes of color, layered and dream-like.
Cute little story with sweet simple pictures about a older sister, Viola, and her younger brother Ferdie. Ferdie has more important things to do then attend school that day. His model cars need washed and toy towers need constructed, he might never be able to go. Viola has to come up with creative ways to encourage her brother to go to school. Never have a few block walk been more adventurous!
When I hear the title of this book, I think of building blocks. Don’t you? But it’s actually referring to the few city blocks that Ferdie and his older sister Viola have to walk on their way to school.

The illustrations in A Few Blocks are lush pastels, complex drawings of Ferdie’s imaginary adventures, within the cut-out shapes of every day. Very clever and should appeal to ages 4-8.
Gorgeous, gorgeous art pulls up the slight plot. Ferdie doesn't want to go to school, but big sister Viola convinces him to walk the few blocks by making it into an adventure. I adored the art and how it changed between real world and what was imagined, and I was glad to see both big sister and little brother take on the solution to the problem rather than have a parent do it.
Kelsey Bates
A little boy does not want to go to school, so his sister convinces him to walk the few blocks by using his imagination as they journey on a pirate ship and other adventures. The illustrations are beautiful: their everyday life is black and white but their imagination is in beautiful hues of colors that still show the everyday background as they walk to school.
While the illustrations are beautiful, original and imaginative, that does not rescue the poor plot. The only reason I finished the picture book was to look at the illustrations. The story gets off to a good start but gets too repetitive. Example: If "Goldilocks and the three bears" was "Goldilocks and the seven bears"... too many beds and too much porridge...
Ferdinand doesn't want to go to school, so his older sister, Viola uses imaginative play to coax him. I enjoyed the sweet relationship between the siblings, but the story fell apart for me at the end. Young artists will enjoy the fanciful illustrations, though.
Sam Bloom
The visuals in this story are pretty amazing, but I thought the relationship between the brother and sister was pretty unbelievable. Seriously, the big sister had skills most parents don't even have in terms of redirecting a difficult/reticent child. Hmmm.
Andd Becker
With determination, two siblings alternately call forth imagination. The author/illustrator engagingly allows imagination to soar through splendid 3-D paper sculptures.
The book is a charmer for moms, teachers, and children. Read it and enjoy!
I enjoyed this story. It reminded me of my four year old and I know he'd enjoy this one too. Also reminded me of my childhood when I had to walk to school. Loved the adventures they went on and how they helped one another out.
A sweet story of a very patient sister trying to coax her little brother to school...they use their imaginations and a fantasy world unfolds for just "a few blocks". The illustrations are amazing...they really make the book!
The story is simple but the illustrations and the story arc are fantastic...
I really appreciate how Young reminds us to use our imaginations to make the ordinary and extraordinary
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Cybèle Young is an award-winning paper sculpture artist as well as an author and illustrator of children's books.
More about Cybèle Young...
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