Most young readers, even those in diapers, would agree.

DRAGONS LOVE TACOS 2

THE SEQUEL

From the Dragons Love Tacos series , Vol. 2

As if the fiery disaster of the first outing (2012) weren’t bad enough, news that the world’s entire supply of tacos has been used up leaves not just the dragons dismayed.

Fortunately, there’s a time machine in the garage, so it might be possible to bring new seed stock for taco trees (didn’t you know?) from the past. Unfortunately, said device is hard to calibrate— first they undershoot back to the previous volume’s spicy-salsa–fueled holocaust and then overshoot to a similar catastrophe in prehistoric times. Subsequent ventures into alternate space-time continua lead to universes where dragons love…diapers (“That’s not right”), and tacos chow down on dragons (“Weird, but closer!”). Then, when the chunky white lad leading the draconic expedition does finally get it right, only the taco in his lap survives the trip back to the present. That’s enough for a happy ending, though, as Salmieri shows in the last of his naïve-style cartoon scenes with a taco party in which dragons and diversely hued figures (some recognizable) from various historical and fantasy realms mingle. “After all,” as Rubin puts it, “dragons love diapers. I mean, tacos. Dragons love tacos. / Heck, everyone loves tacos.”

Most young readers, even those in diapers, would agree. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42888-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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Stronger bedtime and alien books abound in the universe of children’s literature.

OUTER SPACE BEDTIME RACE

A melding of fact and fiction strives to present a bedtime lesson on the solar system.

Two earthling children drift off to sleep as the book opens, and successive spreads describe the bedtime routines of sleepy little extraterrestrials on Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Endpapers underscore the title’s reference to a “race” by depicting the planets as first-through-ninth–place medals according to their respective distances from the sun. This seems to refer more to solar years instead of days with regard to the measurement of the time (how long it takes to travel around the sun, versus how long it takes for a day to pass), which muddies the bedtime theme a bit. After all, planetary days are dictated by rotation and vary in length without necessarily corresponding to the annual “race” around the sun. Backmatter entitled “Sleepy Bedtime Planet Factoids” help to ground the text in scientific facts about the planets, but this can’t fully mitigate how stumbling rhymes and twee wordplay grate—“Uranus is a gassy place. / They sleep with masks stuck to each face.” Won’s digital artwork has a retro sensibility. An isolated inclusion of a brown-skinned boy on the second spread smacks of tokenism, since all other representations of human children depict the same Caucasian boys (the children of Neptune display more diversity by comparison).

Stronger bedtime and alien books abound in the universe of children’s literature. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38647-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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A peaceful, wordless adventure that, as the final frames hint, will continue after it’s closed.

RED AGAIN

Through a magical book, two faraway children meet.

This wordless picture book picks up directly where The Red Book (2004) left off: the third illustration in this is almost identical to the last one in the previous, with a tiny smile added. This time, a black child wearing a blue hoodie and glasses is the finder of the titular red book. The child bikes home through city snow and climbs the stairs of a quirky, cupola-topped house. Opened, the red book’s pages feature increasing close-ups that reveal a beige-skinned child in a fishing boat afloat off a faraway island. That child pulls in a similar red book from the sea and opens it to see the bespectacled city kid back at home. They’re looking at each other! Wordlessly, they form a mutual fondness. The kid in the boat finds an ingenious way to cross the world to their new friend—not through the book (it’s not that kind of magic) but, delightfully, towed by a pelican. There’s sadness and doubt during a brief period when the kids can’t see each other, and then there’s joy. Lehman’s illustrations are structured like comic panels, varying in size and shape and surrounded by white space; in watercolor, gouache, and ink she shows figures and landscapes with gentle textures and neat black outlines.

A peaceful, wordless adventure that, as the final frames hint, will continue after it’s closed. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-81859-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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