A satisfying sequel to a memorable first book featuring an unprepossessing hero who might just become a household name.


Prince Iggy and the Tower of Decisions

In the second installment of this engaging illustrated series, Fynn (Prince Iggy and the Kingdom of Naysayer, 2013) continues the zany adventures of his apprehensive hero.

News has reached the Rose Kingdom that the rightful heir to the throne has been found, and he’s now on his way to reclaim the crown. But Iggy Rose, the heir, is a small, slightly nervous boy who has just escaped from the school bullies; is he ready to rule a kingdom? The plot of this second book is even more bizarre than the first, with Fynn’s cast of eccentric characters heading for space in a rocket ship. When Iggy finally makes it to the Rose Kingdom—after getting his body back from the sentient Rose Star, which switches bodies with Iggy for a large section of the book—he’s forced to enter the dreaded Tower of Decisions to compete with the evil queen who has usurped his position. The tests he undergoes in the tower—confronting a hungry shark, dancing in front of some judges, battling a blue dragon and coming face to face with his deceased parents—are all tests in which the young boy’s character is examined. The strangeness of the fantasy, especially the obstacles that the hero and his crew must overcome, adds to the excitement, but it is the author’s underlying message that resonates most. If Iggy is to defeat the self-centered, vain queen, he must first conquer the small voice of fear within him. He must learn to let go of the past, to forge boldly ahead and reach his goal. With plenty of inspiring, spirited friends, can he lose? After many grayscale, watercolor-style illustrations, the author’s inconclusive ending suggests that further installments might be on the way—good news for all who’ve enjoyed the first two books.

A satisfying sequel to a memorable first book featuring an unprepossessing hero who might just become a household name.

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2013


Page Count: 134

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

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Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.


From the Little Blue Truck series

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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