GRAND ISLE

A family beach outing becomes an extraordinary adventure.

This flight of fancy begins with an ordinary trip to the beach for a White family of four. After the adults have settled in and taken the requisite picture, the two kids wander down the sand and recede into the distance. Actually, they shrink. Finding a convenient seed pod and using its leaves as oars, they set off for an island. There, they encounter a large egg, save the hatchling from entangling vines, and run from the looming cranelike parent, only to discover that their boat has sailed away. Half an eggshell becomes a makeshift boat, unseaworthy in the giant waves, but, happily, there’s a rescue. Their helpfulness is rewarded. Samworth, the creator of Kirkus Prize–winning Aviary Wonders, Inc. (2014), is much more adept at drawing the natural world than humans. This Brobdingnagian world (to the tiny children) is both appealing and a bit scary. The surreal, outsized flowers are worth admiring, but there are caterpillars twice the children’s height, and carnivorous plants threaten from all sides. Sequential panels suggest the passage of time and add interest to the page design. This is neither as rich nor as well executed as Dennis Nolan’s Sea of Dreams (2011), but many children have wondered what it might be like to be minuscule, and this wordless adventure is accessible even to a quite young beachgoer. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An imaginative journey. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-61775-976-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Black Sheep/Akashic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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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

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