A satisfying concept, friendly, Sendak-inspired colored-pencil–and-pastel illustrations, cartoonish attractiveness, and...

JAMPIRES

Some fiends have sucked the jam out of Sam’s doughnut! Who are the perpetrators of this wicked deed? Jampires, of course.

Just like their more sinister counterparts in the Twilight vein, Jampires swoop down in the night and steal the sweet stuff, leaving only a telltale dab of red on their tiny fangs. But young Sam is more than a match for them. Setting a trap in his bedroom with a ketchup-laced doughnut as bait, he manages to trap the jam-thirsty pair. Together they fly off to a magical land of desserts in the sky, “where Jampire moms perched under a sugar frosted dome” and a giant jar of jam soars above mountains of blueberry pie and, of course,…doughnuts. The tale ends happily when the Jampire moms, delighted with the safe return of their two “jammy dodgers,” reward Sam with a flown-in daily supply of luscious, jam-packed doughnuts. British author-illustrator team McIntyre and O’Connell have succeeded in creating a highly original narrative with text engagingly arranged. Skillful use is made of speech balloons in varying shapes, and key words—“hullabaloo,” “Slurp,” “CLANG”—are visually highlighted. And it’s hard to beat these two little jam-smeared monsters for cuteness.

A satisfying concept, friendly, Sendak-inspired colored-pencil–and-pastel illustrations, cartoonish attractiveness, and plain old wackiness make this sweet story a winner. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 30, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-81663-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: David Fickling/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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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 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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