THE MAGIC HILL

Pooh might describe this 1925 offering from Milne as a Very Small Tale, and so it is, but gentle and sweet withal. Princess Daffodil is the only daughter after six sons of the king and queen, and at her christening the Fairy Mumruffin grants her the gift of flowers, which will grow wherever she steps. When the princess begins toddling about the king’s favorite thinking place, strewing flowers everywhere, the king decides she must keep off the paths entirely. After a few years of this, the doctor pronounces that she must do what little girls do: “She must run about more. She must climb hills and roll down them. She must hope and skip and jump.” So the queen finds a solution in a small hill, where Daffodil can do all those things to her heart’s content, and where children play and pick the posies she makes there. Brown, who remembered the story from her own mother’s telling, who remembered it from her mother, has created delicate and winsome illustrations that are also precise: the various species of flowers are easily identifiable. Children will be charmed by the little doll-like faces of the characters and the excellent fairy colors, pastel-colored to jewel-toned as needed. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-525-46147-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1999

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SMILE IF YOU'RE HUMAN

Layton’s zany alien family comes to Earth in search of humans, but with only guidebook descriptions of what people look like, it’s easy to make mistakes—especially when their flying saucer lands at the zoo! “They don’t have tails and they mostly stand on two feet,” reads the father, effectively ruling out kangaroos and tigers as potential people. The smallest alien is anxious to snap a picture of penguins, but it turns out they aren’t human—people don’t have wings. After searching the “entire planet” (that is, within the confines of the zoo walls), the aliens finally do find a creature to match their guidebook’s description perfectly, and to make Darwin smile. The goofy illustrations deploy a childlike sense of fun; the aliens are pleasant creatures with round patchwork bodies and eyes on stalks, and the gregarious zoo animals will ring true for the animal cracker set. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2381-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1999

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BERTIE AND SMALL AND THE BRAVE SEA JOURNEY

Bertie and his best friend—or more accurately stated, toy rabbit, named Small—are inseparable, embarking upon innumerable adventures together. Through the inventiveness of this small child, a simple box stuffed with a few toys becomes a variety of things: a house, a car, a perfect hiding spot. When further inspiration strikes, the box becomes a seagoing vessel for Bertie and Small. While using straightforward language, Cabban eloquently captures a toddler’s innate ability to transform nearly every environment through the imagination, and when the father joins Bertie’s playtime, readers gain a tender glimpse at a loving relationship. A cozy book, ideal for story time. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7636-0878-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1999

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