A celebration of girlyness with a strong female character, this is sure to be a favorite of all who daydream in pink.

FLORABELLE

Meet Florabelle, “a little girl with big rosy-red dreams.”

Florabelle has wondrous visions of herself as queen, ballerina and cowgirl, festooned with flowers and awash in loveliness. But with her head always in the clouds, she is often late and seldom hears or listens to what others say. Whimsical, gently humorous text depicts Florabelle’s dreams and struggles, while sparkling, pink illustrations replete with sweetness spill over the pages as Florabelle decides to show she can be serious in order to go on a trip to the beach with her caring but exasperated family. When the ocean proves more daunting than she’d supposed, Florabelle ends up stranded on shore. Can she use her imagination to help her through? Perhaps a mermaid daydream will do….The pinkalicious renderings of fairylike daydreams are created by collaging Tcherevkoff’s photographs of flowers into Barrager’s cartoons; the often overwhelming effect does get across Florabelle’s consuming distraction. This candy-coated selection escapes princess clichés by allowing Florabelle to overcome her fears, rescue herself and learn how to focus to boot. And that focus comes in handy when it’s time for sleep—she hears every loving word her mother says while tucking her in bed.

A celebration of girlyness with a strong female character, this is sure to be a favorite of all who daydream in pink. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-229182-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

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An engaging story arguing for the marriage of technology with creativity and play.

DOLL-E 1.0

A young girl receives a puzzling gift.

Young Charlotte has always been the most tech-savvy member of her family, helping her mother with a tablet and her father with the smart TV. After Charlotte’s parents observe a news report cautioning against letting kids get “too techy,” the couple presents Charlotte with a doll. The doll doesn’t move or think—it simply sits and utters the word “Ma-ma.” Charlotte reasons that for a doll to talk it must have a power supply, and with a few modifications and a little imagination, Charlotte’s doll becomes Doll-E 1.0. The STEM-friendly narrative is brought to life with charming pencil-and-watercolor illustrations, edited in Photoshop. The scratchy lines are reminiscent of the pictures children like Charlotte sketch at their drawing boards, and the dynamic compositions burst with energy. Charlotte is an engaging character, expressive and thoughtful in equal measure. Charlotte’s doll is adorably rendered, looking mostly like any other common doll but just unique enough that little ones may want one of their own. Charlotte and her family present white; little dog Bluetooth is a scruffy, white terrier.

An engaging story arguing for the marriage of technology with creativity and play. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-51031-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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Well-meant but distressing.

THE POUT-POUT FISH CLEANS UP THE OCEAN

From the Pout-Pout Fish series

The pout-pout fish finds more to pout about.

In the eighth book in this popular series (not counting holiday miniadventures, board books, and novelty tie-ins), Mr. Fish and his friends discover “a big…BIG…MESS” in the ocean. In rhyming stanzas, with an occasional refrain, Diesen tells of the dismal discovery, research, discussion, and consensus: “The problem is… / Us!!!” The friends agree to work together to solve it, inviting readers’ help. Hanna illustrates with his familiar cartoonish characters, letting his imagination fly with examples of what surrounds these ocean-dwellers as they journey to the trash mountain: straws, cups, and plastic bags; bits of plastic toys; bottles and cans; candy wrappers and pizza boxes; old electronics; broken sandals; tires; an abandoned ukelele; an Earth Day balloon (oh, the irony); six-pack rings; and more. Mr. Seahorse’s vehicle belches smelly exhaust; a fish behind him wears a gas mask. Two final spreads show the cooperative cleanup. Mr. Seahorse now rides a bicycle. Humorous details will keep readers coming back to the pictures again and again, but it’s not all laughs: There is an entangled turtle, a fish strangling in a six-pack ring, and more than one skeleton. An older audience will certainly get the point; young listeners may need a reminder from the adult reader to understand who really consumes fast food and leaves litter behind—the real “us” that threaten actual marine life. A final page offers suggestions for learning more, taking action, and sharing.

Well-meant but distressing. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-374-30934-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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