A solid storytime and lap-read that will amuse with each repeated read.

ZOG AND THE FLYING DOCTORS

Dynamic duo Donaldson and Scheffler (Superworm, 2014, etc.) are back with a tale full of high drama, medical emergencies, and dragon crash landings in this sequel to A Gold Star for Zog (2012).

In this outing, the pair reintroduces readers to the trio of traveling doctors: Gadabout the Great is an expert surgeon, Pearl has the distinction of being both a princess and a physician, and dragon Zog is a fire-breathing ambulance—albeit one that has some trouble with his landings. Flying from kingdom to kingdom and curing the maladies of the magical and nonmagical hoi polloi, the threesome passes Pearl’s uncle’s castle and decides to make a social call. Unfortunately, Pearl’s kingly uncle does not approve of a princess with outside employment. In a page turn, Pearl is transformed from medico to captive in a frilly dress, forced to embroider cushions and arrange flowers. As Gadabout and Zog try to save their friend, the king becomes ill with an unknown ailment. Teamwork saves the day (and cures the king of his misogynist attitude) thanks to Pearl’s medical research and Gadabout’s and Zog’s abilities to gather healing ingredients from past patients. Donaldson’s rhyme scheme is sharp, and fans will immediately recognize Scheffler’s distinctive style. Zog steals the show every time he quietly recovers from his bang-crash-thump landings in the background. The message is noble, but the lack of diversity—all the characters are white—tarnishes the crown.

A solid storytime and lap-read that will amuse with each repeated read. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-13417-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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A story of friendship that is both lively and lovely

KONDO & KEZUMI VISIT GIANT ISLAND

From the Kondo & Kezumi series , Vol. 1

Two friends embark upon a high-seas adventure.

Kondo, a large lemon-colored creature with wide round eyes, spends his day on his island home with his best friend, tangerine-hued Kezumi. Together, they frolic on their idyllic isle picking berries (tall Kondo nabs the higher fruit while Kezumi helps to retrieve the lower) while surrounded by tiny “flitter-birds” and round “fluffle-bunnies.” One day, Kezumi finds a map in a bottle that declares “WE ARE NOT ALONE.” Inspired by visions of a larger world, Kondo and Kezumi fashion a boat from a bathtub and set sail. The pair visits fantastical islands—deliciously cheese-laden Dairy Isle, the fiery and fearsome Fireskull Island—until they eventually settle upon the titular Giant Island, where they meet Albert, a gigantic gray talking mountain who is—obviously—unable to leave. Enthralled by his new friends, Albert wants them to stay forever. After Albert makes a fraught decision, Kondo and Kezumi find themselves at a crossroads and must confront their new friend. Goodner and Tsurumi’s brightly illustrated chapter book should find favor with fans of Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen’s similarly designed Mercy Watson series. Short, wry, descriptive sentences make for an equally enjoyable experience whether read aloud or independently. Episodic chapters move the action along jauntily; the conclusion is somewhat abrupt, but it promises more exploration and adventures for the best friends. (This review was originally published in the June 1, 2019, issue. The book data has been updated to reflect changes in publisher and date of publication.)

A story of friendship that is both lively and lovely (Fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02577-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Series fans won’t be disappointed, but young readers and listeners who know only the original ditty may find this a touch...

THERE WAS AN OLD MERMAID WHO SWALLOWED A SHARK!

Having eaten pretty much everything on land in 13 previous versions of the classic song, Colandro’s capaciously stomached oldster goes to sea.

Once again the original cumulative rhyme’s naturalistic aspects are dispensed with, so that not only doesn’t the old lady die, but neither do any of the creatures she consumes. Instead, the titular shark “left no mark,” a squid follows down the hatch to “float with the shark,” a fish to “dance with the squid,” an eel to “brighten the fish” (with “fluorescent light!” as a subsequent line explains), and so on—until at the end it’s revealed to be all pretending anyway on a visit to an aquarium. Likewise, though Lee outfits the bespectacled binge-eater with a finny tail and the requisite bra for most of the extended episode, she regains human feet and garb at the end. In the illustrations, the old lady and one of the two children who accompany her are pink-skinned; the other has frizzy hair and an amber complexion. A set of nature notes on the featured victims and a nautical seek-and-find that will send viewers back to the earlier pictures modestly enhance this latest iteration.

Series fans won’t be disappointed, but young readers and listeners who know only the original ditty may find this a touch bland. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-12993-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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