This dramatic bedtime tale is not for everyone but will satisfy many.

ROSIE THE DRAGON AND CHARLIE SAY GOOD NIGHT

From the Rosie the Dragon and Charlie series

Charlie plans, prepares, and completes the steps to put pet dragon Rosie to bed.

Charlie, a black child with a high-top fade, has had challenges putting Rosie to bed, so tonight Charlie is prepared with a plan—a long, intricate plan. First, there are supplies to gather: a drink of water (no sneaking juice into it, Rosie), a stuffed horsie (if they can find it), and a fire extinguisher, because—well, because dragons. Bathtime is a mess, but Charlie is at the ready with a towel. Rosie insists on wearing footie pajamas, which cause a dramatic overheating issue, so when the fan Charlie has set up doesn’t work, it’s time for that fire extinguisher. Charlie must wear a raincoat for protection when Rosie brushes her teeth. Finally, after a story, it’s time for Rosie to snuggle into bed while Charlie takes a relaxing bath to unwind—but of course, a post-bedtime emergency is inevitable. Rosie is a round-bellied, buck-toothed, bright pink dragon whose goofy looks are endearing; the cartoonish illustrations are busy, dramatizing the chaos that Rosie brings wherever she goes. Though it drags on a little longer than necessary, this humorous story is a sweet representation of caretaking and patience, with a parallel that can extend to older and younger siblings as well as to parent-child relationships, perhaps making young readers a bit more self-reflective and empathetic.

This dramatic bedtime tale is not for everyone but will satisfy many. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1848-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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

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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

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A surprisingly nuanced lesson set in confidence-building, easy-to-decode text.

BO'S MAGICAL NEW FRIEND

From the Unicorn Diaries series , Vol. 1

A unicorn learns a friendship lesson in this chapter-book series opener.

Unicorn Bo has friends but longs for a “bestie.” Luckily, a new unicorn pops into existence (literally: Unicorns appear on especially starry nights) and joins Bo at the Sparklegrove School for Unicorns, where they study things like unicorn magic. Each unicorn has a special power; Bo’s is granting wishes. Not knowing what his own might be distresses new unicorn Sunny. When the week’s assignment is to earn a patch by using their unicorn powers to help someone, Bo hopes Sunny will wish to know Bo's power (enabling both unicorns to complete the task, and besides, Bo enjoys Sunny’s company and wants to help him). But when the words come out wrong, Sunny thinks Bo was feigning friendship to get to grant a wish and earn a patch, setting up a fairly sophisticated conflict. Bo makes things up to Sunny, and then—with the unicorns friends again and no longer trying to force their powers—arising circumstances enable them to earn their patches. The cheerful illustrations feature a sherbet palette, using patterns for texture; on busy pages with background colors similar to the characters’ color schemes, this combines with the absence of outlines to make discerning some individual characters a challenge. The format, familiar to readers of Elliott’s Owl Diaries series, uses large print and speech bubbles to keep pages to a manageable amount of text.

A surprisingly nuanced lesson set in confidence-building, easy-to-decode text. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-32332-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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