Princess power saves the day in a humorous antidote to pretty in pink.


Karate-chopping, moat-splashing and skateboard-zooming are much more fun for Princess Viola than tiara-wearing and hand-waving.

When the royal post delivers a letter of invitation to attend Camp Princess, Viola is keen to try it, for who would not want to be “the darling” of one’s kingdom, as Madame Gertrude, the Director, promises. Alas, though the Princess tries hard at all things properly royal, she reverts to true form and enhances her actions by chopping instead of waving, splashing instead of walking and zooming instead of waltzing. Is all lost? Never! The night of the camp’s Royal Bash, Viola employs her skills to best a hungry, bright-green dragon and returns home in triumph. Sauer, who likes spunk in her characters, writes with brisk humor, employing action verbs to great effect. Berger, an animator and cartoonist, uses a mix of pencil, wax crayon, brush pen and Photoshop to create art with comic-book flair, complete with panels and exploding fonts. His palette of hot pink, lavender, blue and orange pulsates with energy. And, necessary for any princess outing, a generous dollop of glitter adorns the cover.

Princess power saves the day in a humorous antidote to pretty in pink. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-15-206599-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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This extraordinary book will make it hard for any child reader to settle for the mundaneness of reality.


A testament to the power of an imaginative mind.

A compulsively creative, unnamed, brown-skinned little girl with purple hair wonders what she would do if the pencil she uses “to create…stories that come from my heart” disappeared. Turns out, it wouldn’t matter. Art can take many forms. She can fold paper (origami), carve wood, tear wallpaper to create texture designs, and draw in the dirt. She can even craft art with light and darkness or singing and dancing. At the story’s climax, her unencumbered imagination explodes beyond the page into a foldout spread, enabling readers both literally and figuratively to see into her fantasy life. While readers will find much to love in the exuberant rhyming verse, attending closely to the illustrations brings its own rewards given the fascinating combinations of mixed media Curato employs. For instance, an impressively colorful dragon is made up of different leaves that have been photographed in every color phase from green to deep red, including the dragon’s breath (made from the brilliant orange leaves of a Japanese maple) and its nose and scales (created by the fan-shaped, butter-colored leaves of a gingko). Sugar cubes, flower petals, sand, paper bags, marbles, sequins, and lots more add to and compose these brilliant, fantasy-sparking illustrations.

This extraordinary book will make it hard for any child reader to settle for the mundaneness of reality. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-39096-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.


On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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