A sweet, magical tale with a tender life lesson.

THE CANDY DISH

A little girl receives a very special gift, but she is not entirely satisfied.

When the pretty covered dish appears, the girl lifts its lid and finds one piece of candy. It is absolutely delicious, making her feel like the freedom and playfulness of a summer day. Of course she now wants more, but the lid will not open again no matter how she tries. She doesn’t feel fortunate to have received this gift—only upset that she can’t have more candy. The next morning she is surprised when the box easily opens to reveal a new piece of candy, even more delicious, filling her with playful joy. But the frustration of the day before returns as she unsuccessfully, even violently, attempts to get another piece of candy. The third day sees her planning to throw the box in the trash in utter defeat, but the lid once again opens, and she is gifted with another candy. But this time she reacts differently. From the beginning the narrator lets readers know that this girl is both unique and just like any other child. As the tale unfolds there are gentle admonishments about the girl’s sense of entitlement and the absence of gratitude or appreciation. When she finally understands her amazing gift, she delights in it and realizes that each piece of candy is like each day of her life, to be savored gratefully. Lirius’ lovely and ethereal illustrations bring Yamada’s loving philosophical lessons to life. The girl has loose, dark curls and light-brown skin; overall, the palette is dominated by blues, yellows, and browns.

A sweet, magical tale with a tender life lesson. (Picture book/fantasy. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-970147-59-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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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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