THE THREE BULLY GOATS

The classic tale gets stood on its head in this twist from Kimmelman. The three bully goats, Gruff, Ruff and Tuff, live in a gorgeous meadow where they bully all the animals around and never share their grass. But they aren’t happy—the grass over the bridge looks so much nicer. And the ogre guarding the bridge? They hardly give the puny fellow a second thought. The three take their turns tripping across the bridge, the cheerfully nice ogre attempting to make friends with them and getting rebuffed by the grouchy goats. Once over the bridge, the goats set about ruining life in the pleasant meadow with their bullying ways. Upset over this, Little Ogre comes up with a clever plan, and with the help of some baby animals who have some built-in protection of their own, the meadow is freed of the bullies for good. Terry’s brilliantly colored acrylics have a soft, out-of-focus look to them, but there is no mistaking the grouchy looks and mean personalities of his Bully Goats. Big round eyes characterize the innocence of the baby animals, while Little Ogre has excellent, green warty skin, a vivid purple Mohawk and kind-hearted ways. Kimmelman’s version stands out even from other nontraditional versions, since the ogre/troll is the good guy and the goats are the villains. A good springboard for both bullying conversations and problem-solving sessions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8075-7900-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

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Action, clever humor, delightful illustrations and expectation-defying secret identities—when does the next one come out?

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THE PRINCESS IN BLACK

From the Princess in Black series , Vol. 1

Perfect Princess Magnolia has a secret—her alter ego is the Princess in Black, a superhero figure who protects the kingdom!

When nosy Duchess Wigtower unexpectedly drops by Princess Magnolia’s castle, Magnolia must protect her secret identity from the duchess’s prying. But then Magnolia’s monster alarm, a glitter-stone ring, goes off. She must save the day, leaving the duchess unattended in her castle. After a costume change, the Princess in Black joins her steed, Blacky (public identity: Frimplepants the unicorn), to protect Duff the goat boy and his goats from a shaggy, blue, goat-eating monster. When the monster refuses to see reason, Magnolia fights him, using special moves like the “Sparkle Slam” and the “Twinkle Twinkle Little Smash.” The rounded, cartoony illustrations featuring chubby characters keep the fight sequence soft and comical. Watching the fight, Duff notices suspicious similarities between the Princess in Black and Magnolia—quickly dismissed as “a silly idea”—much like the duchess’s dismissal of some discovered black stockings as being simply dirty, as “princesses don’t wear black.” The gently ironic text will amuse readers (including adults reading the book aloud). The large print and illustrations expand the book to a longish-yet-manageable length, giving newly independent readers a sense of accomplishment. The ending hints at another hero, the Goat Avenger.

Action, clever humor, delightful illustrations and expectation-defying secret identities—when does the next one come out? (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6510-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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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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