THE LITTLE WOODEN ROBOT AND THE LOG PRINCESS

A brother and sister must overcome obstacles to rescue each other in a marvelous journey.

“There once lived,” the tale begins, and it ends quite satisfactorily with “happily ever after.” In between, two heroic adventures are linked together, each complete with difficulties, brave rescues, kindnesses, and magical coincidences. The little wooden robot and the log princess are gifts from the royal inventor and a clever witch, respectively, for “a king and queen who happily ruled a pleasant land” but had no children. Everyone in the family loves one another, and the siblings play together all day. But when, calamitously, the princess becomes fixed in her log form one night, the little robot doesn’t hesitate to board a ship for the far north to save his sister, and when his parts fail on the way back, the princess steps up courageously. The additional myriad escapades of each young hero are captured in charming graphic montages. Gauld’s crisp, clear art, with captivating small details in backgrounds and endpapers, adds richness to the narrative. The amiable faces of each of his human and humanoid characters, along with those of birds, bugs, and forest creatures, give a feel of intimacy and familiarity. The queen appears Black and the king White, and the princess has brown skin. Gauld’s fairy tale feels both timeless and completely new; utterly fresh, yet like a story heard long ago and finally found again.

Enchanting. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4698-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures.

PIPPA'S NIGHT PARADE

Pippa conquers a fear of the creatures that emerge from her storybooks at night.

Pippa’s “wonderfully wild imagination” can sometimes run “a little TOO wild.” During the day, she wears her “armor” and is a force to be reckoned with. But in bed at night, Pippa worries about “villains and monsters and beasts.” Sharp-toothed and -taloned shadows, dragons, and pirates emerge from her storybooks like genies from a bottle, just to scare her. Pippa flees to her parents’ room only to be brought back time and again. Finally, Pippa decides that she “needs a plan” to “get rid of them once and for all.” She decides to slip a written invitation into every book, and that night, they all come out. She tries subduing them with a lasso, an eye patch, and a sombrero, but she is defeated. Next, she tries “sashes and sequins and bows,” throwing the fashion pieces on the monsters, who…“begin to pose and primp and preen.” After that success, their fashion show becomes a nightly ritual. Clever Pippa’s transformation from scared victim of her own imagination to leader of the monster pack feels fairly sudden, but it’s satisfying nonetheless. The cartoony illustrations effectively use dynamic strokes, shadow, and light to capture action on the page and the feeling of Pippa's fears taking over her real space. Pippa and her parents are brown-skinned with curls of various textures.

A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9300-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more