Cast on, cast off, and set sail for a great yarn

NED THE KNITTING PIRATE

Can one pirate ship contain both knitting needles and pirates’ cutlasses?

In a rollicking and rhyming adventure filled with delightfully seaworthy words, Ned, a pirate, loves to knit. The captain firmly and loudly objects. “A scurvy pirate doesn’t knit, nor wear a fuzzy hat.” The crew bravely sails and digs up treasure while relishing their lack of manners. “We’re grouchy and slouchy. We don’t ever quit! / We slurp, and we burp, and we gulp, and we… / KNIT!!!”—that last word is from Ned, a running joke. Alas, Ned the knitter must stow his needles and yarns until a (not particularly fearsome but very hungry) monster attacks. Who or what can save the ship from this creature that resembles an oversized bath toy? Ned has the perfect solution, one that converts the pirates into a bevy of dedicated knitters and will not surprise readers one delighted jot. Murray has great fun with her tale, which is perfect for reading aloud. Lammle’s colorfully cartoonish art depicts a very appealing collection of sea creatures and pirates (mostly light-skinned, including Ned and the mermaid who watches the action from the waves). Ned can be viewed as a bender of gender stereotypes with great appeal to all.

Cast on, cast off, and set sail for a great yarn . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59643-890-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2016

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A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area.

RED AND LULU

A pair of cardinals is separated and then reunited when their tree home is moved to New York City to serve as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

The male cardinal, Red, and his female partner, Lulu, enjoy their home in a huge evergreen tree located in the front yard of a small house in a pleasant neighborhood. When the tree is cut down and hauled away on a truck, Lulu is still inside the tree. Red follows the truck into the city but loses sight of it and gets lost. The birds are reunited when Red finds the tree transformed with colored lights and serving as the Christmas tree in a complex of city buildings. When the tree is removed after Christmas, the birds find a new home in a nearby park. Each following Christmas, the pair visit the new tree erected in the same location. Attractive illustrations effectively handle some difficult challenges of dimension and perspective and create a glowing, magical atmosphere for the snowy Christmas trees. The original owners of the tree are a multiracial family with two children; the father is African-American and the mother is white. The family is in the background in the early pages, reappearing again skating on the rink at Rockefeller Center with their tree in the background.

A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7733-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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Action, clever humor, delightful illustrations and expectation-defying secret identities—when does the next one come out?

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THE PRINCESS IN BLACK

From the Princess in Black series , Vol. 1

Perfect Princess Magnolia has a secret—her alter ego is the Princess in Black, a superhero figure who protects the kingdom!

When nosy Duchess Wigtower unexpectedly drops by Princess Magnolia’s castle, Magnolia must protect her secret identity from the duchess’s prying. But then Magnolia’s monster alarm, a glitter-stone ring, goes off. She must save the day, leaving the duchess unattended in her castle. After a costume change, the Princess in Black joins her steed, Blacky (public identity: Frimplepants the unicorn), to protect Duff the goat boy and his goats from a shaggy, blue, goat-eating monster. When the monster refuses to see reason, Magnolia fights him, using special moves like the “Sparkle Slam” and the “Twinkle Twinkle Little Smash.” The rounded, cartoony illustrations featuring chubby characters keep the fight sequence soft and comical. Watching the fight, Duff notices suspicious similarities between the Princess in Black and Magnolia—quickly dismissed as “a silly idea”—much like the duchess’s dismissal of some discovered black stockings as being simply dirty, as “princesses don’t wear black.” The gently ironic text will amuse readers (including adults reading the book aloud). The large print and illustrations expand the book to a longish-yet-manageable length, giving newly independent readers a sense of accomplishment. The ending hints at another hero, the Goat Avenger.

Action, clever humor, delightful illustrations and expectation-defying secret identities—when does the next one come out? (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6510-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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