An offbeat blend of education and mayhem, themed just right for Halloween.


A coven of witches stirs up the Great Brungle Stew with a variety of collective nouns to summon Mr. Brungle, the “wickedly vile” heartthrob of “the witch with a wart,” in this offering from India.

“A QUIVER OF COBRAS, / Shoot them in straight. / From A LOUNGE OF LIZARDS / Add exactly eight! // Make sure to toss in / A MISCHIEF OF MICE. / Or just one big rat / Is sure to suffice.” Interesting and unusual collective nouns for different animals are written in uppercase type, while the rest of the text is set in standard fashion. The rhymes of the quatrains as well as the meter are occasionally inconsistent. Illustrations are darkly colorful, with the many animals represented fairly realistically, while the witches, with brown skin and white hair, sport long, pointy noses and sparse teeth. Their charm delights (though it may need some practice before reading aloud): “Tremple Gemple Fever Sticks / Pimple Poxile Psittacosis / Frungle Brungle, Where Are You? / Appear Now! Shimshamshoo!” When the spell does not work, one of the witch sisters adds the last essential ingredient at midnight, and what appears? The titular tangle of brungles! The collective nouns range far and wide, as the witches toss in a kaleidoscope of butterflies, a clew of worms, a paddle of ducks, and many more.

An offbeat blend of education and mayhem, themed just right for Halloween. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-8-181903-60-0

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Karadi Tales

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.


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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A close encounter of the best kind.


Left behind when the space bus departs, a child discovers that the moon isn’t as lifeless as it looks.

While the rest of the space-suited class follows the teacher like ducklings, one laggard carrying crayons and a sketchbook sits down to draw our home planet floating overhead, falls asleep, and wakes to see the bus zooming off. The bright yellow bus, the gaggle of playful field-trippers, and even the dull gray boulders strewn over the equally dull gray lunar surface have a rounded solidity suggestive of Plasticine models in Hare’s wordless but cinematic scenes…as do the rubbery, one-eyed, dull gray creatures (think: those stress-busting dolls with ears that pop out when squeezed) that emerge from the regolith. The mutual shock lasts but a moment before the lunarians eagerly grab the proffered crayons to brighten the bland gray setting with silly designs. The creatures dive into the dust when the bus swoops back down but pop up to exchange goodbye waves with the errant child, who turns out to be an olive-skinned kid with a mop of brown hair last seen drawing one of their new friends with the one crayon—gray, of course—left in the box. Body language is expressive enough in this debut outing to make a verbal narrative superfluous.

A close encounter of the best kind. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4253-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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