Endearing and entertaining: what’s not to like—or love? (Picture book. 4-8)

NOBODY LIKES A GOBLIN

A small goblin finds courage when he defends a friend.

Bug-eyed, green Goblin with his toothy underbite lights torches, feeds rats, and plans to hang out in his dungeon for the day with his Very Best Friend, Skeleton, who has a crown. But the ominous sound of “boots on stone” announces adventurers—light-skinned and medieval-garbed with a full-figured warrior woman in the lead—who come roaring into Goblin’s home to steal all the books, treasure, and worst of all, Skeleton. Shaken, Goblin sets out “into the wide world” to get his friend back, but his troll neighbor cautions, “Nobody likes a goblin.” A farmer with a pitchfork and a gang of elves prove quite serious in their antipathy. Themes of loyalty, courage, and friendship nicely complement the lively sense of danger. Diagonal lines invest each page with motion; full-color art with entertaining details—look for the small dragons on the rocks and for the kidnapped goose and girl on the adventurers’ cart—pulls readers in to the story. When a company of goblins asks our hero, still wearing Skeleton’s crown from before, “Are you the Goblin King?” he thinks a moment before responding “Yes….yes, I am.” Young readers will find themselves cheering Goblin on—he may not be lovely, but his sense of friendship and his loyalty are convincing and appealing.

Endearing and entertaining: what’s not to like—or love? (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 7, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62672-081-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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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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