Not exactly out of this world but a pleaser just the same.

THERE'S AN ALIEN IN YOUR BOOK

From the Who's in Your Book? series

Earth friends are easy to make for this roly-poly, extraterrestrial cutie.

Fletcher pens the fourth in his interactive book series, this time invading his pages with a crash-landed ET. At first readers are encouraged to tell the space being to shove off, but pretty quickly it becomes clear that it’s just too adorable to send away like that. Mostly yellow, it looks like nothing more than a smiley face with antennae, its oversized head occupying more volume than its trunk, arms, legs, and tail combined. The undersides of its hands, feet, and tail are bright green. Repairing its damaged spaceship is out of the question, and attempts to launch it into space by having readers bounce, turn, and lift the book are fruitless. Does it belong here? Well, when readers stop to consider all the creatures that live on this planet (including a cameo by the author in the art), we can recognize that “we’re all weird and wonderful.” So the alien stays and even makes a friend with the star of There’s a Monster in Your Book (2017). The story makes mild overtures toward the idea of embracing our differences no matter our appearance, but that’s all superseded by the interactive elements. By now the series is treading familiar ground, but fans will find the combination of cute creatures and gentle moralizing a comfort.

Not exactly out of this world but a pleaser just the same. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12512-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A deterministic message detracts from the math.

TEN MAGIC BUTTERFLIES

For 10 flower friends, the grass is always greener…in the sky.

Ten Fantasia-like flowers with adorable faces and leaf arms/hands love being together and basking in the sun, but they also can’t help wanting to break free of their roots and fly when they see the fairies flitting about in the moonlight. One night, “Said the tiny blue one, / ‘Fairy up in the sky, / you see, I’m a flower, / but I want to fly.’ ” While the fairy is puzzled at the flower’s discontent, she grants its wish and transforms it into a butterfly. One by one the others join their mate in the sky as butterflies, each one’s color reflecting its flower origin. At daybreak, though, the new butterflies regret the transformation, and the understanding fairy changes them back again: “But big and tall, / or short and small, / being ourselves / is best of all!” Really? There isn’t even one flower that would really rather fly all the time? Throughout, McKellar emphasizes that there are always 10 in all, though some may be flowers and some butterflies at any given point. The endpapers reinforce ways to make 10 by showing 11 combinations, all in two rows of five, which may confuse children, rather than always keeping butterflies separate from flowers and allowing one row to be longer than the other. The bright colors, butterflies, flowers, and the fairy, who is a dark-skinned pixie with long black hair, seem calibrated to attract girly audiences.

A deterministic message detracts from the math. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-93382-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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Mythical-creature aficionados won’t be able to resist.

UNICORN NIGHT

SLEEP TIGHT

A cheery nighttime routine.

The duo behind Unicorn Day (2019) tackles the next logical question: What do unicorns do at night? After nonstop rainbow-sliding, cupcake-eating, and, of course, twirling, drowsy unicorns wind down. They don’t brush their teeth, but they do need to shine their horns before bed. They also “brush their manes, / as soft as silk, / and have a sip / of moonbeam milk.” Bedtime stories are shared and cloud pillows are fluffed as eyelids slowly close. But wait! The unicorns startle awake. They forgot to sing their song! Unlike the energetic previous outing, which promotes fun, fun, fun, this lullaby is filled with moonlight, fairies, and lulling sounds. “Neigh, neigh, neigh, played all day, / time to sleep the night away!” The music drifts down to the forest floor, soothing all the woodland creatures as they prepare for bed too. Flowers employs deep purples and blues for a dusk setting, but the unicorns’ blankets, sleep masks, hair, and horns are all still bright and colorful, keeping the joviality intact. Eagle-eyed readers will spot the tiny, purple dragon hiding on most pages. This bedtime book doesn’t bring much new to the genre, except…unicorns!

Mythical-creature aficionados won’t be able to resist. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72822-298-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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