Although the story may not make complete sense in our world, children will rejoice that everything comes together to make...

CINNAMON

“Cinnamon was a princess, a long time ago, in a small hot country where everything was very old.”

Written in 1995, this story has been available only on the author’s website or as part of The Neil Gaiman Audio Collection (2004). Now the tale of the sightless princess and the mysterious talking tiger is a picture book with graceful and vibrant illustrations by Srinivasan. Cinnamon has beautiful pearl eyes, is blind, and does not talk. Many try to teach her to speak, lured by the rewards offered by her parents, the rajah and the rani, but no one succeeds until the talking tiger arrives. “He was huge and fierce, a nightmare in black and orange, and he moved like a god through the world, which is how tigers move.” The tiger awakes in Cinnamon the crucial emotions of pain, fear, and love, and he tells her of the beauty of the world beyond—and finally Cinnamon finds that she has something to say. With turbans, jewels, and elephants in intense, matte colors, the detailed, authentically South Asian illustrations transport readers to the fantastical setting of this inexplicable story. With the rani’s crabby old aunt, the limerick-spouting parrot, and nods to British authors both famous (Rudyard Kipling, Edward Lear) and obscure (William Cosmo Monkhouse), this story balances the odd and the whimsical, the bizarre and the beautiful.

Although the story may not make complete sense in our world, children will rejoice that everything comes together to make the princess happy in the end. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-239961-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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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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A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures.

PIPPA'S NIGHT PARADE

Pippa conquers a fear of the creatures that emerge from her storybooks at night.

Pippa’s “wonderfully wild imagination” can sometimes run “a little TOO wild.” During the day, she wears her “armor” and is a force to be reckoned with. But in bed at night, Pippa worries about “villains and monsters and beasts.” Sharp-toothed and -taloned shadows, dragons, and pirates emerge from her storybooks like genies from a bottle, just to scare her. Pippa flees to her parents’ room only to be brought back time and again. Finally, Pippa decides that she “needs a plan” to “get rid of them once and for all.” She decides to slip a written invitation into every book, and that night, they all come out. She tries subduing them with a lasso, an eye patch, and a sombrero, but she is defeated. Next, she tries “sashes and sequins and bows,” throwing the fashion pieces on the monsters, who…“begin to pose and primp and preen.” After that success, their fashion show becomes a nightly ritual. Clever Pippa’s transformation from scared victim of her own imagination to leader of the monster pack feels fairly sudden, but it’s satisfying nonetheless. The cartoony illustrations effectively use dynamic strokes, shadow, and light to capture action on the page and the feeling of Pippa's fears taking over her real space. Pippa and her parents are brown-skinned with curls of various textures.

A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9300-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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