THE BIG SECRET

From the Tales of Sasha series , Vol. 1

A young horse discovers the magical reason why she doesn’t fit in.

Sasha isn’t like the other horses in her herd. She loves running and craves adventure more than the others, especially her ladylike older sisters. She struggles in school with an “itchy feeling” of anticipation, which leaves her fidgety, unable to stay still or pay attention. As much as she tries to behave, she can’t fight her desire to run and jump—especially to jump. When the white patch on her back, the itching’s source, begins to sparkle, she goes to her parents for answers and gets more than she expected. Sasha was adopted; she joined their family as a newborn when, during a huge thunderstorm, a blast of sparkling rainbow lightning left Sasha behind with a letter asking her parents to take care of her. Wanting to know more, Sasha and her best friend go hiking at the mountain where her parents found her. Near the top of the mountain, an accidentally-too-enthusiastic jump launches Sasha off the mountain—whereupon she sprouts wings from her white patch and flies. Energetic readers will relate to Sasha’s manic, kinetic energy and envy her flight abilities. The sequel, Journey Beyond the Trees, releasing simultaneously, continues bold Sasha’s quest for answers as she travels in search of her kind. Gentle black-and-white art emphasizes the horses’ expressive eyes and manes.

Sweet and spunky. (Fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0390-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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