A sweet story of learning about the world and changing it for the better.

BOSCO AND THE BEES

Ritchie’s middle-grade debut novel sees a curious young fairy develop an interest in bees, which his people treat as taboo.

Nine-year-old Bosco lives in Somewhere, a fairy community in the mountains of North America. Unlike the fairies of Fairy Land, which is kept locked away from the rest of the world behind an energy Barrier, Bosco’s people exist at one with nature. They cooperate with the birds and animals and practice ecologically responsible methods of subsistence. Bosco loves his life and his home, but the Ten-Year Rule hangs over his head—a decree by Queen Madrina that all young fairies must choose a life path by their 10th year or be indentured for five years at the Royal Court. Bosco has a great affinity for flying, so he thinks that perhaps he’ll study birds. However, he finds himself increasingly fascinated by bees; the only problem is that all fairies—even the open-minded folk of Somewhere—deeply dislike his new insect friends. What dark history is there between fairies and bees? And will Bosco be forced to leave his mountain home? Ritchie’s prose style feels every bit as natural as her protagonist’s surroundings. The dialogue is unobtrusive, and the plot unfolds with simple elegance, hinting at dangers but never allowing them to develop too far. Bosco is an inquisitive and likable protagonist who’s principled, positive, and personable. The other fairies of Somewhere are similarly agreeable, and each feels distinct; the fairies from the other side of the Barrier have more edge to them, yet their intrusion into Bosco’s world feels more a clash of cultures than a villainous act. Humankind lurks as a threat, but it, too, isn’t antagonistic; instead, it shows a critical failure to understand the balance of nature. Ritchie makes the ecological underpinnings of Bosco’s discoveries clear throughout. The message, though, is delivered not with a heavy hand but with the straightforwardness of a child’s perspective, unencumbered by adult rationalizations. The result is an easygoing, refreshing adventure that young readers will treasure.

A sweet story of learning about the world and changing it for the better.

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64921-929-9

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Atmosphere Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

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An unabashed love letter from mother.

I LOVE YOU, LITTLE POOKIE

From the Little Pookie series

A sweet celebration of the bond between a mother and her Pookie.

The eighth installment in this always charming series eschews the episodic drama and silliness of earlier outing such as Spooky Pookie (2015) in favor of a mom’s-eye-view celebration of her child and the time they spend together. There is, of course, nothing wrong with drama and silliness. But while the lack of conflict and plot in favor of unapologetic sentiment makes this book a quick read, that doesn’t make it any less endearing. The rhymed verse captures a mother’s wonder as she observes the many facets of her child’s personality: “Ah, Pookie. My little one. My funny one. My child. // Sometimes you are quiet. Sometimes you are wild.” On the simple joys of shared moments, she notes, “I love to go walking with you by my side. / I love when we sing when we go for a ride. // And I love just to watch as you think and you play. / The way that you are is a wonderful way.” Paired with author/illustrator Boynton’s irresistible renderings of a porcine mommy and her playful, snuggly little piglet, the result is impossible to fault. Whether quietly reading, running in a tiger suit, singing with mom in the car, ears flapping in the breeze, or enjoying the safety of mom’s embrace, Pookie’s appeal continues unabated.

An unabashed love letter from mother. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3723-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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The greeting-card art and jokey rhymes work for the baby-shower market but not for the youngest readers.

I LOVE YOU LIKE NO OTTER

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring through rhymed puns and sentimental art.

The title sets the scene for what’s to come: The owl asks the owlet as they fly together, “WHOO loves you?”; the kangaroo and joey make each other “very HOPPY”; and the lioness and cub are a “PURRRFECT pair.” Most of the puns are both unimaginative and groanworthy, and they are likely to go over the heads of toddlers, who are not know for their wordplay abilities. The text is set in abcb quatrains split over two double-page spreads. On each spread, one couplet appears on the verso within a lightly decorated border on pastel pages. On the recto, a full-bleed portrait of the animal and baby appears in softly colored and cozy images. Hearts are prominent on every page, floating between the parent and baby as if it is necessary to show the love between each pair. Although these critters are depicted in mistily conceived natural habitats and are unclothed, they are human stand-ins through and through.

The greeting-card art and jokey rhymes work for the baby-shower market but not for the youngest readers. (Board book. 6 mos-2)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-1374-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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