Given that feisty, dirt-or-danger-loving princesses are almost a subgenre of princess books, don’t choose this one first.

DANGEROUSLY EVER AFTER

A story about a princess who relishes danger, illustrated with incongruous glossiness.

Princess Amanita loves anything perilous, from “her pet scorpion, and her brakeless bicycle, and her collection of daggers and broken glass” to a sporting walk, blindfolded, at a moat’s edge. Prince Florian (from a neighboring kingdom) accidentally blows a hole in her wheelbarrow by cutting, from her vine, an apparent bunch of grapes that are actually “grenapes”—they “explode three seconds after being picked.” Apologetic, he brings roses (new to Amanita, but luckily they’ve got thorns). She demands rose seeds to grow more thorns, but instead receives nose seeds due to an ambiguously handwritten note. Humor and wordplay—grape + grenade = grenape; nose plants rather than rose plants—sit alongside the danger theme, never quite meshing. Theme notwithstanding, Amanita’s shown in peril only late in the story, and few pages feature an aesthetically threatening vibe. Not only do most of Amanita's dangerous things go without depiction, the garden, “filled with prickles and stickles and brambles and nettles,” shows many cactus spikes as blunt-tipped. Despite much texturing, Docampo’s bright colors and stylized, dominantly curving lines feel more slick than dangerous, though Amanita's scorpion-sting hairdo is nicely menacing.

Given that feisty, dirt-or-danger-loving princesses are almost a subgenre of princess books, don’t choose this one first. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3374-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A delectable bilingual experience.

¡VAMOS! LET'S GO EAT

From the ¡Vamos! series

Little Lobo is tasked with nourishing nine famished luchadores.

Following ¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market (2019), author/illustrator Raúl the Third and colorist Bay create a second installment in their bilingual series, ¡Vamos!, here following Little Lobo’s journey as he provides sustenance to hungry lucha libre stars. The cheerfully energetic anthropomorphic wolf reprises his role as a bike courier when he receives a message from El Toro and makes his way to el Coliseo, winding and weaving through busy streets. A mouthwatering experience follows as Little Lobo—accompanied by dog Bernabé and rooster pal Kooky Dooky—picks up tacos, diced fruit, freshly made tortillas, flan, and buñuelos from a gathering of food trucks. As in his other work, Raúl the Third imbues his pages with real-world and pop-culture references. An homage to Picasso’s Guernica, recognizable Ciudad Juárez–El Paso landmarks, a Chavo del Ocho inside a barrel, and even a Chapulín Colorado marionette all make the cut. Readers ignorant of these specifics will not feel left out: The busy pages filled with interesting characters and intriguing bilingual signage make readers wish they could jump into the pages and experience the bustling town. Bay’s comic book–style coloring and creative textures provide a deep cultural exposure to the lavish array of Mexican food throughout the spreads. After enjoying the story, readers will keep going back to savor all the minuscule details.

A delectable bilingual experience. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-55704-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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