The bedizened, rose-colored cover will be enough to lure in young readers, and the rather formless storyline might even get...

PRINCESSES ON THE RUN

A prettily conceived and executed design, a decorative Eastern European sensibility and a fairly unconventional storyline make Princess Antonia stand out among the current crop of princesses.

Antonia has toys, gowns and “the largest book collection in the entire kingdom” but finds herself unaccountably bored. Her friends always seem to be busy: Rapunzel’s in her tower, Cinderella’s cleaning, Snow White’s coping with a household full of dwarves, and Sleeping Beauty’s always tired. One day, Antonia simply runs out of the castle, out of town and into the forest. She finds that all of her friends decided to escape that day, too. Soon, all five princesses are joined by Little Red Riding Hood and a whole bevy of forest denizens. After they reach the sea, each returns home, energized: Rapunzel bobs her hair, Sleeping Beauty learns to practice yoga, and Antonia decides to take her elephant (!) out to run, too. This winsome, slight tale gains strength from its collaged, computer-manipulated illustrations. There are floral patterns and furbelows galore. Geometrically formed bodies have pipestem limbs, faces sport comma-and–polka-dot features, and some amazing curlicues of red, blonde, brown and black hair sprout from these girls’ heads.

The bedizened, rose-colored cover will be enough to lure in young readers, and the rather formless storyline might even get them thinking. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7624-4612-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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A strong series start.

GAME OVER, SUPER RABBIT BOY!

From the Press Start! series , Vol. 1

In a video game, a superpowered rabbit must rescue a singing dog that brings everyone happiness.

In the frame story, a brown-skinned human protagonist plays a video game on a handheld console evocative of the classic Nintendo Gameboy. The bulk of the book relates the game’s storyline: Animal Town is a peaceful place where everyone is delighted by Singing Dog, until the fun-hating King Viking (whose black-mustachioed, pink-skinned looks reference the Super Mario Brothers game series villain, Wario) uses his army of robots to abduct Singing Dog. To save Singing Dog—and fun—the animals send the fastest among them, Simon the Hedgehog, to get Super Rabbit Boy (who gains speed and jumping powers by eating special carrots) to save the day. The chapters take Super Rabbit Boy through video game levels, with classic, video game–style settings and enemies. Throughout the book, when the game’s player loses either a life in the game or the game entirely, the unnamed kid must choose to persevere and not give up. The storylines are differentiated by colorful art styles—cartoonish for the real world, 8-bit pixel-sprite–style for the game. The fast, repetitive plot uses basic, simple sentences and child-friendly objects of interest, such as lakes of lava, for children working on reading independence, while the nerdy in-jokes benefit adults reading with a child.

A strong series start. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-03472-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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An action-packed romp.

EVEN SUPERHEROES HAVE BAD DAYS

Superheroes deal with their emotions.

What happens when the empowered have a terrible day? Becker posits that while they could go on destructive sprees and wreak havoc, the caped crusaders and men and women of steel harness their energies and direct it in constructive ways. Little readers filled with energy and emotion may learn to draw similar conclusions, but the author doesn’t hammer home the message. The author has much more fun staging scenes of chaos and action, and Kaban clearly has a ball illustrating them. Superheroes could use laser vision to burn down forests and weather powers to freeze beachgoers. They could ignore crime sprees and toss vehicles across state lines. These hypothetical violent spectacles are softened by the cartoonish stylizations and juxtaposed with pages filled with heroic, “true” efforts such as rounding up criminals and providing fun at an amusement park. The illustrations are energetic and feature multicultural heroes. The vigorous illustrations make this a read for older children, as the busyness could overwhelm very little ones. While the book’s formula recalls How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? and its many sequels, the relative scarcity of superhero picture books means there’s a place on the shelf for it.

An action-packed romp. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4549-1394-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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