The book demands familiarity with the films; the youngest Star Wars fans will find much to pore over.

STAR WARS BLOCK

OVER 100 WORDS EVERY FAN SHOULD KNOW

From the Block Books series

A compendium of people, places, and things found in the Star Wars movies.

After a brief two-paragraph introduction resembling the movies’ iconic text crawl, readers meet a variety of characters, from The Phantom Menace to The Force Awakens, with a nod to Rogue One. As with other Block Book titles, this is organized in sequences of double-page spreads. The first spread shows a close-up (BB-8, for example), with the recto’s edge cut to outline it. On the following pages, the camera pulls back to a scene with other characters (Unkar Plutt, a happabore) and their vehicles (a speeder) or accessories; an icon with the planet’s name (Jakku) floats against the scene. While the shaped pages provide some page-turn ease, the visuals and text from the next spread peek through, to sometimes-confusing effect; Han Solo looks as if he is as large as the Millennium Falcon, for instance. Peskimo’s illustrations are the stars here, creating friendly heroes and softening the villains (particularly Darths Maul and Vader) with swaths of flat, muted, subtly textured colors. A final double gatefold shows sundry villains all captioned “Fear,” while the inside, labeled “Hope,” presents a gallery of human, alien, and droid heroes. Here’s hoping the 2-inch-thick binding will hold up to the enthusiasm of young fans.

The book demands familiarity with the films; the youngest Star Wars fans will find much to pore over. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2831-0

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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A simple but important lesson about anxiety that will speak to young worrywarts everywhere.

THERE'S A UNICORN IN YOUR BOOK

From the Who's in Your Book? series

A troubled little unicorn needs serious help.

There are “worry gremlins” all around threatening his peace of mind. Kids will feel engaged and empowered as they follow the directions to get these gremlins out of the picture. Young readers are told to “wiggle your fingers to make some magic dust,” tickle the unicorn, tell him a joke, and shake the book. None of these tactics quite do the trick, since the gremlins keep coming back and Unicorn’s horn gets stuck in the page. A gentler shake frees the horn, and the text offers another solution, one that kids can take to heart—“The best way to get rid of a worry is to tell someone about it.” Luckily, Unicorn’s friend Monster, an innocuous blue being with tiny pink horns, is there for Unicorn to whisper his worries to. Readers are also urged to whisper something encouraging to Unicorn, who thereafter feels much better. Fears allayed, he and his friends indulge in an exuberant celebration. Kids can join in as they happily sing together against a double-page spread of stars, rays of light, fairies, and disappearing gremlins. The digital illustrations are humorous, and varying typefaces and energetic page reveals add to the fun. This entry in the Who’s in Your Book? series follows the same pattern as the others and includes characters from the previous books.

A simple but important lesson about anxiety that will speak to young worrywarts everywhere. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43476-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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Stronger bedtime and alien books abound in the universe of children’s literature.

OUTER SPACE BEDTIME RACE

A melding of fact and fiction strives to present a bedtime lesson on the solar system.

Two earthling children drift off to sleep as the book opens, and successive spreads describe the bedtime routines of sleepy little extraterrestrials on Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Endpapers underscore the title’s reference to a “race” by depicting the planets as first-through-ninth–place medals according to their respective distances from the sun. This seems to refer more to solar years instead of days with regard to the measurement of the time (how long it takes to travel around the sun, versus how long it takes for a day to pass), which muddies the bedtime theme a bit. After all, planetary days are dictated by rotation and vary in length without necessarily corresponding to the annual “race” around the sun. Backmatter entitled “Sleepy Bedtime Planet Factoids” help to ground the text in scientific facts about the planets, but this can’t fully mitigate how stumbling rhymes and twee wordplay grate—“Uranus is a gassy place. / They sleep with masks stuck to each face.” Won’s digital artwork has a retro sensibility. An isolated inclusion of a brown-skinned boy on the second spread smacks of tokenism, since all other representations of human children depict the same Caucasian boys (the children of Neptune display more diversity by comparison).

Stronger bedtime and alien books abound in the universe of children’s literature. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38647-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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