Use this wild ride to shake things up with common sense and creativity.


From the It's Not a Fairy Tale series , Vol. 3

The characters don’t cooperate with the narrator in this metafictive spoof on the classic fairy tale.

When the narrator introduces Little Red Riding Hood, she overhears from her home and calls out, “Hey! Someone’s talking about us!” She comments on all of the narration, in fact, and the narrator responds to her in turn while trying, in vain, to maintain control over the story. Red, though savvy, is willing to play along and act out the story. But, to the narrator’s dismay, the Big Bad Wolf is sick and has sent a pirate in its place, and the heroic woodsman couldn’t make it, so Pinocchio shows up instead. The notion of eating Grandma doesn’t sit well with the pirate, so the narrator can only relent as the characters make up their own happy ending. Colorful, dramatic, cartoony illustrations picture Red and her family with brown skin and puffy black hair; Red’s sister, Blue, uses a wheelchair (disappointingly, it’s not depicted as a self-propelled one); the pirate presents White and has a hook prosthesis. The many voices are differentiated by different typefaces, colors, and speech bubbles, giving the feel of a comic or play. Adults may have a difficult time performing them all as a read-aloud, but a child willing to alternate reading with an adult will enjoy the drama, and the jokes will be more fun that way too. Still, many will find this rewrite more thought-provoking than funny, and that’s not all bad either.

Use this wild ride to shake things up with common sense and creativity. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-0666-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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As ephemeral as a valentine.


Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez,...


Abuela is coming to stay with Mia and her parents. But how will they communicate if Mia speaks little Spanish and Abuela, little English? Could it be that a parrot named Mango is the solution?

The measured, evocative text describes how Mia’s español is not good enough to tell Abuela the things a grandmother should know. And Abuela’s English is too poquito to tell Mia all the stories a granddaughter wants to hear. Mia sets out to teach her Abuela English. A red feather Abuela has brought with her to remind her of a wild parrot that roosted in her mango trees back home gives Mia an idea. She and her mother buy a parrot they name Mango. And as Abuela and Mia teach Mango, and each other, to speak both Spanish and English, their “mouths [fill] with things to say.” The accompanying illustrations are charmingly executed in ink, gouache, and marker, “with a sprinkling of digital magic.” They depict a cheery urban neighborhood and a comfortable, small apartment. Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. A Spanish-language edition, Mango, Abuela, y yo, gracefully translated by Teresa Mlawer, publishes simultaneously.

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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