An overall unremarkable entry in the growing number of picture books championing girl power.

NOTHING WEE ABOUT ME!

A MAGICAL ADVENTURE

A tale about the transformative power of imagination and self-confidence.

Liesel loves visiting Grandma Rose because adventure is never more than the clutch of her grandmother’s old ladle away. Today, the ladle and Liesel’s imagination take her to an island that’s simultaneously inhabited by pirates, terrorized by a dragon, and threatened by an active volcano. She’s determined to save the day, and indeed she does, at least temporarily: She plugs the active volcano with a gigantic coconut, preventing it from erupting. However, the obstacles in her path are disappointingly one-dimensional, as the pirate captain and dragon who question what a “wee girl” like Liesel is capable of both back down quickly once she asserts that “THERE’S NOTHING WEE ABOUT ME!” The text’s repetition of the word “wee” feels out of place within the contemporary setting and in the face of Liesel’s confidence. Similarly, Liesel’s choice of a ladle, of all things, could imply either a reinforcement or a reclaiming of spaces and tools stereotypically associated with women. Grandma Rose’s somewhat dismissive attitude of Liesel’s confidence suggests that her choice of a ladle is less than radical. While the text often tells rather than shows, the soft, sketchy illustrations actively support the text by providing additional visual information. The three human characters all have pale skin and light-colored hair while the island residents appear as anthropomorphic lions, pigs, rabbits, chickens, and turtles.

An overall unremarkable entry in the growing number of picture books championing girl power. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62414-692-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

KNIGHT OWL

A young owl achieves his grand ambition.

Owl, an adorably earnest and gallant little owlet, dreams of being a knight. He imagines himself defeating dragons and winning favor far and wide through his brave exploits. When a record number of knights go missing, Owl applies to Knight School and is surprisingly accepted. He is much smaller than the other knights-in-training, struggles to wield weapons, and has “a habit of nodding off during the day.” Nevertheless, he graduates and is assigned to the Knight Night Watch. While patrolling the castle walls one night, a hungry dragon shows up and Owl must use his wits to avoid meeting a terrible end. The result is both humorous and heartwarming, offering an affirmation of courage and clear thinking no matter one’s size…and demonstrating the power of a midnight snack. The story never directly addresses the question of the missing knights, but it is hinted that they became the dragon’s fodder, leaving readers to question Owl’s decision to befriend the beast. Humor is supplied by the characters’ facial expressions and accented by the fact that Owl is the only animal in his order of big, burly human knights. Denise’s accomplished digital illustrations—many of which are full bleeds—often use a warm sepia palette that evokes a feeling of antiquity, and some spreads feature a pleasing play of chiaroscuro that creates suspense and drama.

A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-31062-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more