Martial aspects notwithstanding, a warm tale of family togetherness.



The smallest member of a Viking family rules the roost—until a new little warrior princess comes along.

Little Sven may be, but in this sparely related episode he has the loudest cries, the fiercest bite, and if he feels like pillaging his massive dad’s dinner plate…well, no one will stand against him. He also loves telling stories so much that everyone stops to listen. This last comes in handy after his place in the clan is usurped by a scowling, redheaded, even smaller new arrival with an even louder cry—and when no one else can make the “warrior princess” settle down, it’s his tales of two small rovers setting out on epic adventures that bring peace to the flummoxed Nordic household. Looking diminutive indeed among the towering, haystack-shaped adults in Roxas’ green and gold scenes, Sven and the princess go on to develop so firm an alliance that at the end he’s proudly outfitting her with a helmet and shield of her own, showing nary a trace of sibling rivalry or jealousy. Children will enjoy such details as Sven’s dog, who demonstrates its distress in parallel with Sven’s white family.

Martial aspects notwithstanding, a warm tale of family togetherness. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-55429-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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While the amusing scenario may prove to be more a nostalgia trip for adult readers than something today’s kids will...


Weekly Sunday visits from their two aunts and one uncle are so disagreeable that three children take steps to alter the atmosphere through some harmlessly exaggerated imitation.

Each Sunday afternoon the family guests arrive, heavily plop themselves on the living room furniture, and make negative, complaining and resigned statements. “Oy,” says Aunt Essy. “Feh,” says Aunt Chanah. “So?” says Uncle Sam. “That was all they ever said!” Despite the children’s parents’ attempts to make pleasant conversation or the children’s enthusiastic play-acting performed for the guests, the reaction is always the same uncongenial three words. Ink-and-watercolor illustrations depict Essy, Chanah and Sam with unflattering caricatures of stereotypical adult Jewish characters, with clownishly large noses, slouchy, overweight bodies and unsmiling faces. In exasperation, the children each take a role and comically mimic their aunts’ and uncle’s behavior, forcing laughter and recognition. This mishpocheh now redeems itself with a newfound willingness to tell family stories and loving childhood memories; the palette here modulates from muted tones to bright, sunny colors.

While the amusing scenario may prove to be more a nostalgia trip for adult readers than something today’s kids will immediately recognize, they will appreciate the overall sentiment even if they miss the Yiddish essence. Nu? (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-55498-148-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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In this moderately effective "jump" story, a lad anxiously questions a distracted-looking, green-skinned goblin as he watches it ransack his house: " 'Why have you got such a big fat bum?' 'Squishing things and squashing things . . .' 'Why have you got such a grumbly tum?' 'Hungry! Hungry! Hungry!' ” The arced lines of text are printed in dialogue balloons, and Hess views the domestic destruction from canted or rolling perspectives in which food, garbage, shampoo, and small toys fly as the goblin shambles along in a cloud of spattered paint or ink. At last the interloper winds up in the lad's bedroom: " ‘What have you come for?' 'YOU!' ” But, as lifting the concluding gatefold reveals, the goblin will accept a jelly bean instead. "A Dark, Dark Room" it's not, but read aloud with the proper gusto it should elicit a few belly laughs, as well as a mild climactic jolt, and the art is unusually fascinating. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-56145-214-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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