As always, hilarious; perhaps the strongest Princess in Black outing since the first.

THE PRINCESS IN BLACK TAKES A VACATION

From the Princess in Black series , Vol. 4

As the title suggests, the Princess in Black attempts to take a much-needed vacation.

Worn down by constant monster alarms, Princess Magnolia, aka the Princess in Black, can hardly stay awake when fighting the furry, brightly colored monsters menacing her kingdom—this is seen in a funny fight sequence where her usual attacks have been replaced with such maneuvers as the “sluggish swing” and “double dozy.” Luckily, a new hero arrives: the Goat Avenger, who has the same height and smile as Duff the goat boy but “couldn’t be Duff. Duff did not wear a mask.” Duff—as the Goat Avenger—suggests that the princess needs a vacation and offers to handle monster duty in her absence. Princess Magnolia hits the beach and runs into Princess Sneezewort before settling in for a nap—which is promptly interrupted by a giant rampaging sea monster! This nifty battle sequence alternates with scenes of Duff, who amps himself up for battling monsters, liberates a squirrel that has set off a false alarm, and is finally assisted by the squirrel in facing an acorn monster. The dual storylines keep the pace exciting, and—even though the protagonist is sleepy—the art is energetic and charming. Princess Magnolia has fair skin, Duff’s is a little bit darker, and the beachgoers are pleasingly diverse.

As always, hilarious; perhaps the strongest Princess in Black outing since the first. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6512-8

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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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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As Captain Awesome would say, this kid is “MI-TEE!” (Fiction. 5-8)

CAPTAIN AWESOME TO THE RESCUE!

From the Captain Awesome series , Vol. 1

The town of Sunnyview got a little bit safer when 8-year-old Eugene McGillicudy moved in.

Just like his comic-book mentor, Super Dude, Eugene, aka Captain Awesome, is on a one-man mission is to save the world from supervillains, like the nefarious “Queen Stinkypants from Planet Baby.” Just as Eugene suspected, plenty of new supervillains await him at Sunnyview Elementary. Are Meredith Mooney and the mind-reading Ms. Beasley secretly working together to try and force Eugene to reveal his secret identity? Will Principal Brick Foot succeed in throwing Captain Awesome into the “Dungeon of Detention?” Fortunately, Eugene isn’t forced to go it alone. Charlie Thomas Jones, fellow comic-book lover and Super Dude fan, stands ready and willing to help. When the class hamster goes missing, Captain Awesome must don his cape and, with the help of his new best friend, ride to the rescue. Kirby’s funny and engaging third-person narration and O’Connor’s hilarious illustrations make the book easily accessible and enormously appealing, particularly to readers who have recently graduated to chapter books. But it is the quirky, mischievous Eugene that really makes this book special. His energy and humor are contagious, and his dogged commitment to his superhero alter ego is enough to make anyone a believer.  

As Captain Awesome would say, this kid is “MI-TEE!” (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4090-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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