The perfect choice for a rainy day for readers and nonreaders alike.

THE DOG WALK

The Astrid Lindgren Award winner takes readers—and picture perusers—on a whimsical dog walk in this lush wordless picture book.

The book opens with a child being towed outside by an elderly woman’s fluffy white dog. Boarding a carnival-style miniature train, the pair embarks on a journey through treehouses, castles, parks cultivated and wild, European-style cities, antiques and toy shops, and tropical islands, before arriving safely back home. Masterfully rendered in watercolor, ink, and acrylic and squeezed into intricate double-page spreads, the illustrations are rich in tiny details sure to provide hours of entertainment. There’s a giraffe on what might be a romantic boat ride, goats pulling women modeling rococo and Victorian fashion, another woman fox-trotting with a fox, seals on a beach holiday, and a knight in armor morosely fishing, among many more. Most humans depicted present White, including the woman and child (who wears a red ball cap, helping readers spot them on each page), and most of the artistic and architectural traditions referenced are European in style, though not exclusively. Amusement abounds in the mixture of modern and historical aesthetic elements, Alice in Wonderland variety in proportions of the fantastical beasts and people, and tiny, expressive faces.

The perfect choice for a rainy day for readers and nonreaders alike. (Picture book. 4-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-78250-743-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Floris

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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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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The young folk and (of course) the animals are engagingly wrought in this tale with a strong ecological message.

WILLODEEN

An orphan loner’s small town faces a hard future after it unwittingly disrupts a natural cycle.

Willodeen is lucky that elderly retired thespians Mae and Birdie took her in after the wildfire that killed her parents and brother, not only because they’re a loving couple, but because they let her roam the woods in search of increasingly rare screechers—creatures so vile-tempered and stinky that the village elders of Perchance have put a bounty on them. The elders have other worries, though: The migratory hummingbears that have long nested in the area, drawing tourists to the lucrative annual Autumn Faire, have likewise nearly vanished. Could there be a connection? If there is, Willodeen is just the person to find it—but who would believe her? Applegate’s characters speak in pronouncements about life and nature that sometimes seem to address readers more than other characters, but the winsome illustrations lighten the thematic load. Screechers appear much like comically fierce warthogs and hummingbears, as small teddies with wings. Applegate traces a burgeoning friendship between her traumatized protagonist and Connor, a young artist who turns found materials into small animals so realistic that one actually comes to life. In the end, the townsfolk do listen and pitch in to make amends. Red-haired, gray-eyed Willodeen is cued as White; Connor has brown skin, and other human characters read as White by default.

The young folk and (of course) the animals are engagingly wrought in this tale with a strong ecological message. (Eco-fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-14740-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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