Fans of fart jokes and humor may be able to overlook the flaws (such as the paucity of intelligent female characters) in...

ONCE UPON A PRANK

From the Prince Not-So Charming series , Vol. 1

Prince Carlos Charles Charming dreams of becoming a jester, but his parents want him to do “princely things” like slay dragons.

King Carmine is “a good king” and “a good dad…always loving and patient” with his son. But he hardly ever laughs. When Prince Carlos performs his comedy routine to try to cheer up his father, Carlos doesn’t succeed in eliciting a laugh: Carlos is meant to be a prince, not a jester. After obediently donning his suit of armor, Carlos finds solace in the company of Jack the Jester, who shares Carlos’ affinity for scatological humor. But his consolation is short-lived: His mother, “big woman” Queen Cora (she has “an even bigger personality”), finds and compels him to train with Prince Gilbert the Gallant, who is kind but aggravatingly perfect. Carlos’ torment is cut short but then increased when his father—even though he knows that Carlos is ill-prepared—sends him out to slay a dragon. Carlos comforts himself with a comedy routine as he heads toward his fate, and the noise draws the attention of the dragon, who, unsurprisingly (to readers, anyway), is not what Carlos expected. Spot illustrations portray Jack the Jester and Prince Gilbert as brown-skinned, while Carlos and his father share “the same light tan skin.”

Fans of fart jokes and humor may be able to overlook the flaws (such as the paucity of intelligent female characters) in this quick read. (Fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-14238-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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