First-day jitters, inclusivity, and an engaging superhero tale all in one.

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RAE'S FIRST DAY

THE FIRST STORY IN THE CAPABLES SERIES

A kindergartener uses her secret superpower on her first day of school in this picture book.

Rae starts her day with her dad’s affirmations: He assures her she’s strong, smart, and—most importantly—capable. That word gives her a jolt, which she knows emanates from her superpower. But she’s nervous about how kids will react to her limb difference (“Her right arm was shorter than her left, and her hand had two fingers”). To comfort her, her father has her repeat words they’ve shared: “Some people will look at me differently, and that’s okay” because differences “make our world super.” Confidence restored, Rae meets her classmates, and they easily accept her—difference and all—as a friend. When recess is threatened due to rain, Rae confides to a new pal about her superpower, then ducks behind a bookcase to summon the sunshine and save the day. While this series opener addresses Rae’s limb difference, it’s couched within a superhero story that’s the real focus of the comic book–styled work. The tale deftly shows that kids with differences can be heroes. Perciante’s bright cartoon illustrations, featuring a diverse cast, are sometimes full page and sometimes in panels, with lettering in boxes and word balloons to reinforce the comic-book influence. While the vocabulary Jordan uses is more appropriate for confident readers beyond kindergarten, the lap crowd will be enthralled by the format, and preschoolers will find comfort in Rae’s success.

First-day jitters, inclusivity, and an engaging superhero tale all in one.

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73-645800-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: The Capables, LLC

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures.

PIPPA'S NIGHT PARADE

Pippa conquers a fear of the creatures that emerge from her storybooks at night.

Pippa’s “wonderfully wild imagination” can sometimes run “a little TOO wild.” During the day, she wears her “armor” and is a force to be reckoned with. But in bed at night, Pippa worries about “villains and monsters and beasts.” Sharp-toothed and -taloned shadows, dragons, and pirates emerge from her storybooks like genies from a bottle, just to scare her. Pippa flees to her parents’ room only to be brought back time and again. Finally, Pippa decides that she “needs a plan” to “get rid of them once and for all.” She decides to slip a written invitation into every book, and that night, they all come out. She tries subduing them with a lasso, an eye patch, and a sombrero, but she is defeated. Next, she tries “sashes and sequins and bows,” throwing the fashion pieces on the monsters, who…“begin to pose and primp and preen.” After that success, their fashion show becomes a nightly ritual. Clever Pippa’s transformation from scared victim of her own imagination to leader of the monster pack feels fairly sudden, but it’s satisfying nonetheless. The cartoony illustrations effectively use dynamic strokes, shadow, and light to capture action on the page and the feeling of Pippa's fears taking over her real space. Pippa and her parents are brown-skinned with curls of various textures.

A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9300-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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