THE REAL, TRUE DULCIE CAMPBELL

A search for identity and a dose of reality come in a pleasing package. Dulcie lives on a farm in Hollyhock, Iowa, but she knows there’s been a terrible mistake. As she mucks out the chicken coop, she knows her real mother is a queen who would let her eat chocolates all day, and would never wear bunny slippers. Her real dad wouldn’t smell of manure or wake her up early to help with the milking. And surely her real brother wouldn’t steal her underpants and wear them on his head. So she announces she’s Princess Dulcinea and goes off, with her book, to wait for her real, true family to turn up. In the “palace” (read “barn”) she reads about many princesses, and discovers they didn’t always have fun—one even had to kiss a frog. She decides she’s not a princess, vanquishes the ogres in the barn (which she recognizes are as imaginary as her highborn ambitions) and is home in time for dinner. Alley’s (Mrs. Brown on Exhibit, p. 883) illustrations in summer colors do justice to the down-home aspects of the family farm and kitchen as well as Dulcie’s silken-and-gilt royal musings and some pretty neat ogres. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2002

ISBN: 0-374-36220-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2002

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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NOT A BOX

Dedicated “to children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes,” this elemental debut depicts a bunny with big, looping ears demonstrating to a rather thick, unseen questioner (“Are you still standing around in that box?”) that what might look like an ordinary carton is actually a race car, a mountain, a burning building, a spaceship or anything else the imagination might dream up. Portis pairs each question and increasingly emphatic response with a playscape of Crockett Johnson–style simplicity, digitally drawn with single red and black lines against generally pale color fields. Appropriately bound in brown paper, this makes its profound point more directly than such like-themed tales as Marisabina Russo’s Big Brown Box (2000) or Dana Kessimakis Smith’s Brave Spaceboy (2005). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-112322-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2006

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