Not likely to sneak past the early-reader set.

THE SNEAKY SNOW FOX

From the Fiercely and Friends series , Vol. 2

Giff’s Fiercely and Friends early-reader series limps along with this not-so-suspenseful tale.  

The trio of Jilli, Jim and dog Fiercely who spied on a neighbor and her Big Red Schoolhouse, return for another semimysterious adventure. During a terrific snowstorm, Jilli has to take a break from reading to Fiercely about a sneaky snow fox—the story is just too scary. Jumping at every sound and seeing a snow fox around every corner, she is terrified by a knock on the door. It turns out to be just her friend, Jim. But while the door is open, the dog runs outside. The duo watch from an upstairs window as Fiercely tunnels his way toward a suspiciously foxy-looking tail in the snow. Is he brave or does he need help? The friends share Jim’s pair of skis and rush to the rescue. The ending will satisfy beginning readers with its coziness and lack of fright, though the buildup is overlong and repetitious. The four chapter divisions seem arbitrary, and the text suffers from the same exposition problems as the first title in the series (The Big Something, 2012), telling all the action rather than showing. Palmisciano’s oil pastels nicely convey the children’s emotions, though the ambiguity that "conceals" the identity of the snow fox may leave readers frustrated rather than amused.

Not likely to sneak past the early-reader set. (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-24458-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2014

  • New York Times Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more