The quality remains consistently high for this series, linking edibles and emotions with excitement and ease.

SHORT & SWEET

From the Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series , Vol. 4

A technological treatment goes awry for these fan favorites, creating monstrously good fun.

When Sir French Toast and Lady Pancake start to turn green with decay (gasp!), a new treatment offered by Professor Biscotti malfunctions, turning them into children. Baron von Waffle, their enemy-turned-friend from previous episodes, is struck with remorse for recommending the procedure and tampering with nature. But the shrunken versions of Toast and Pancake do not remember him. Thinking he is a monster, they run away over various obstacles made of other foods. In this fourth installment of the adventures of these clever fridge friends, the syncopated text shines, building the suspense and pace with rhyming couplets. The illustrations continue their gastronomic creativity, with Fjords of Farfalle and Bran Canyons and buildings created out of everyday foodstuffs for each picture. In the end, Waffle cooks up a sweet solution for returning the shrunken Toast and Pancake to normal. The underlying theme about fixing problems one has created is subtle, and forgiveness reigns among the entire royal cast. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 30.3% of actual size.)

The quality remains consistently high for this series, linking edibles and emotions with excitement and ease. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4549-3427-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area.

RED AND LULU

A pair of cardinals is separated and then reunited when their tree home is moved to New York City to serve as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

The male cardinal, Red, and his female partner, Lulu, enjoy their home in a huge evergreen tree located in the front yard of a small house in a pleasant neighborhood. When the tree is cut down and hauled away on a truck, Lulu is still inside the tree. Red follows the truck into the city but loses sight of it and gets lost. The birds are reunited when Red finds the tree transformed with colored lights and serving as the Christmas tree in a complex of city buildings. When the tree is removed after Christmas, the birds find a new home in a nearby park. Each following Christmas, the pair visit the new tree erected in the same location. Attractive illustrations effectively handle some difficult challenges of dimension and perspective and create a glowing, magical atmosphere for the snowy Christmas trees. The original owners of the tree are a multiracial family with two children; the father is African-American and the mother is white. The family is in the background in the early pages, reappearing again skating on the rink at Rockefeller Center with their tree in the background.

A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7733-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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An action-packed romp.

EVEN SUPERHEROES HAVE BAD DAYS

Superheroes deal with their emotions.

What happens when the empowered have a terrible day? Becker posits that while they could go on destructive sprees and wreak havoc, the caped crusaders and men and women of steel harness their energies and direct it in constructive ways. Little readers filled with energy and emotion may learn to draw similar conclusions, but the author doesn’t hammer home the message. The author has much more fun staging scenes of chaos and action, and Kaban clearly has a ball illustrating them. Superheroes could use laser vision to burn down forests and weather powers to freeze beachgoers. They could ignore crime sprees and toss vehicles across state lines. These hypothetical violent spectacles are softened by the cartoonish stylizations and juxtaposed with pages filled with heroic, “true” efforts such as rounding up criminals and providing fun at an amusement park. The illustrations are energetic and feature multicultural heroes. The vigorous illustrations make this a read for older children, as the busyness could overwhelm very little ones. While the book’s formula recalls How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? and its many sequels, the relative scarcity of superhero picture books means there’s a place on the shelf for it.

An action-packed romp. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4549-1394-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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