Hap-pee-ly–ever-after reading fun.

THE PRINCE AND THE PEE

Laugh-out-loud potty humor.

Gormley’s story mines fairy-tale tropes as well as toilet humor to deliver laughs. It opens with Prince Freddie on holiday, sunbathing and drinking lemonade. His talking horse, Sir Rushington, interrupts his vacation to tell the prince a dragon is laying siege to Castle Crumbly. After Freddie “gulp[s] down the very last drop of his lemonade,” they’re off! Alas, the horse’s “Up and down. Up and down. Up and down” trot, not to mention the bodies of water, a waterfall, and rain that Mould illustrates in his uproarious acrylic illustrations, soon make the armor-clad Freddie painfully aware of his full bladder. Repeated pit stops for him to relieve himself are interrupted by a terrifying ogre, a princess in a tower (“How very awkward,” sympathizes Sir Rushington), and a very long bathroom line formed by the Big Bad Wolf, Puss in Boots, and the Seven Dwarfs. (Adult female caregivers will note the irony that every single person in this line is implied male.) When they finally arrive at Castle Crumbly, Prince Freddie is so desperate that he plows right by the dragon, who sets the castle ablaze. Luckily, Prince Freddie eschews the throne room and stands atop a turret instead, well-positioned to douse the flames below: “And suddenly there was an almighty sizzle.” Freddie and all other humanoids save the green ogre are white.

Hap-pee-ly–ever-after reading fun. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: June 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9916-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

HOME

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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