Skip this well-intended book.

THE BOY AND THE GIANT

Billy saves the day when he finds the only person tall enough to finish the new town mural.

The friendly citizens of Gableview are working on a mural that decorates the wall surrounding their town; it will welcome visitors from far and near. But no one can reach the top to finish the mural. Grandad has a great idea: ask the Secret Giant to help, regaling a skeptical Billy with tales of the Giant’s fantastic feats, like the time he lay across a gap in the bridge so that cars could cross or the time he rescued a fishing boat caught in a storm. The next day, Billy and his dog go for their morning walk and run smack into the Giant himself, with “legs as long as drainpipes and hands the size of tabletops.” And what is the Giant doing? Painting the wall, of course. Billy runs away in fright but regrets it, realizing the “Giant stays hidden away because people are afraid of him. He just doesn’t feel welcome.” After a little thinking, Billy and Grandad concoct an idea for a way to show the Giant he really is welcome. Litchfield uses the metaphor of a friendly giant to lead readers to understand they don’t need to be “scared of things that are different,” but in depicting the Giant as endlessly self-sacrificing and ever helpful to an ungrateful population, he sends a murky message indeed. Billy, Grandad, and the Giant all present white.

Skip this well-intended book. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3318-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more