There’s plenty of hair flair and fun, if not quite so much logic.

HOW THE LIBRARY (NOT THE PRINCE) SAVED RAPUNZEL

Take a popular fairy tale, modernize it and make the princess a sassy lass who refuses to let her hair down, and you have a nifty fairy-tale twist with a library message.

“On the sixteenth floor of a tall tower block / sat Rapunzel, quite idle, whilst growing her locks.” The milkman calls up, “The lift is not working, the stairs are too steep / my asthma is bad and my heart is too weak.” But Rapunzel refuses to let down her hair for him or the postman, the baker, her aunt and even the prince! She just sits passively, so each visitor goes away. Worried that they are neglecting her due to their reluctance to climb 15 flights of stairs, the troupe gathers together and soldiers up to the 16th floor to cook Rapunzel supper and deliver a letter. “Rapunzel leapt up and shouted with glee: / ‘I’ve got a new job at the library!’ ” So begins her love affair with library books and the discovery that “there’s more to life than growing your hair!” (The question of how she gathered the wherewithal to apply for the job is not addressed.) The bouncy illustrations match the whimsy. Rapunzel’s hair is wildly curly and red; the prince arrives on a scooter wearing a helmet, black goatee and shades; the cast is multiethnic. The rhymes give lilt to the tale. (Two British terms, “lift” and “spanner,” are used for elevator and wrench, but this doesn’t get in the way of the fun.)

There’s plenty of hair flair and fun, if not quite so much logic. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-84780-432-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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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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Action, clever humor, delightful illustrations and expectation-defying secret identities—when does the next one come out?

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THE PRINCESS IN BLACK

From the Princess in Black series , Vol. 1

Perfect Princess Magnolia has a secret—her alter ego is the Princess in Black, a superhero figure who protects the kingdom!

When nosy Duchess Wigtower unexpectedly drops by Princess Magnolia’s castle, Magnolia must protect her secret identity from the duchess’s prying. But then Magnolia’s monster alarm, a glitter-stone ring, goes off. She must save the day, leaving the duchess unattended in her castle. After a costume change, the Princess in Black joins her steed, Blacky (public identity: Frimplepants the unicorn), to protect Duff the goat boy and his goats from a shaggy, blue, goat-eating monster. When the monster refuses to see reason, Magnolia fights him, using special moves like the “Sparkle Slam” and the “Twinkle Twinkle Little Smash.” The rounded, cartoony illustrations featuring chubby characters keep the fight sequence soft and comical. Watching the fight, Duff notices suspicious similarities between the Princess in Black and Magnolia—quickly dismissed as “a silly idea”—much like the duchess’s dismissal of some discovered black stockings as being simply dirty, as “princesses don’t wear black.” The gently ironic text will amuse readers (including adults reading the book aloud). The large print and illustrations expand the book to a longish-yet-manageable length, giving newly independent readers a sense of accomplishment. The ending hints at another hero, the Goat Avenger.

Action, clever humor, delightful illustrations and expectation-defying secret identities—when does the next one come out? (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6510-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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