Should please Anglophiles fond of cozy, English cultural references and nonstop whimsy.

MR. TIGER, BETSY, AND THE BLUE MOON

A fantasy series opener from the author of Carnegie Medal winner Maggot Moon (2013).

Betsy K. Glory lives on a small island with her ice-cream–making dad, who owns a cafe; her ocean-dwelling mermaid mum pays them weekly visits. When Betsy and Mr. Glory deliver his latest concoction to an ice-cream–fancying toad, the amphibian reveals that she is Princess Albee, self-exiled from her home on Gongalong Island after her giantess half sister, Princess Olaf, made a wish that turned her into a toad, a wish Albee is unable to overturn. While confirming Mum’s assertion that Gongalong Island’s berries, when made into ice cream, grant wishes, Albee says they must be picked during a blue moon. Sadly, no one knows how to turn the moon blue. Worse, Princess Olaf has fenced off most of their island for her own use, making it nearly impossible for the remaining resident Gongalongs (tiny humanoids) to escape. When Mr. Tiger and his oceangoing circus, which features Gongalong acrobats, arrive on Betsy’s island, he hatches a plan to free the Gongalongs and Princess Albee. With an elaborately silly plot and flimsy characterization, the story feels rudderless; it lacks thematic heft. A few moments sparkle, though, and the abundant, imaginative illustrations (executed in blue, to match the blue type) provide continuity and quirky charm. Human and human(oid) characters default to white.

Should please Anglophiles fond of cozy, English cultural references and nonstop whimsy. (Fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09516-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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