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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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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LIKE PICKLE JUICE ON A COOKIE

When Bibi, her first and favorite babysitter, moves away, it takes all of August for 8-year-old Eleanor to get beyond her sense of loss and get used to a new caretaker. Her parents grieve, too; her mother even takes some time off work. But, as is inevitable in a two-income family, eventually a new sitter appears. Natalie is sensible and understanding. They find new activities to do together, including setting up a lemonade stand outside Eleanor’s Brooklyn apartment building, waiting for Val, the mail carrier, and taking pictures of flowers with Natalie’s camera. Gradually Eleanor adjusts, September comes, her new teacher writes a welcoming letter, her best friend returns from summer vacation and third grade starts smoothly. Best of all, Val brings a loving letter from Bibi in Florida. While the story is relatively lengthy, each chapter is a self-contained episode, written simply and presented in short lines, accessible to those still struggling with the printed word. Cordell’s gray-scale line drawings reflect the action and help break up the text on almost every page. This first novel is a promising debut. Eleanor’s concerns, not only about her babysitter, but also about playmates, friends and a new school year will be familiar to readers, who will look forward to hearing more about her life. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8109-8424-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

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