If this book were a dish it might be described as good meat with too many trimmings.

HOW TO COOK A PRINCESS

A darkly comical guide to dishing up royalty, from a black-magic Julia Child.

“Gingrich the witch is famous for her recipes,” and her cookbook shows crones and stepfamilies alike how to turn “a pesky princess” into a meal. It starts with a typical wicked witch setting: “a house made of chocolate” tucked away in “the darkest corner of the woods.” A wordless double-page spread of Gingrich’s cookbook with a few well-chosen ingredients nearby precedes information about kitchen utensils and the best traps to procure the main ingredient. Next come the recipes, which include the Cinderella burger, Rapunzel salad, and a nice Snow White stew. For young fans of the macabre, perhaps with an aversion to Disney princesses, the unsettling, dark, blocky illustrations will provide gruesome glee. The drawings are perfectly unappetizing, as they imagine a witch’s palate, and are the most enjoyable aspect of the book. The length of this picture book and the density of text makes for a tricky read-aloud, which, combined with the subject matter, could limit the audience to older readers. The original Spanish may have more artistry in the writing, while the translated text is often clunky or unnecessarily verbose if not without the occasional delicious bon mot (“The Little Red Riding Hoods are an excellent game meat”).

If this book were a dish it might be described as good meat with too many trimmings. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-84-946926-4-2

Page Count: 56

Publisher: nubeOCHO

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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Hooray, hooray for this par-tay.

FOX & RABBIT CELEBRATE

From the Fox & Rabbit series , Vol. 3

Five more stories featuring buddy pair Fox and Rabbit.

Following the formula of its predecessors, this third installment of the Fox & Rabbit series focuses on Sparrow’s “super-trooper special” birthday. A slightly unrelated opening story introduces a variety of animal characters as Fox—proudly adopting the moniker “Fix-it Fox”—goes around trying to solve everyone’s “enormous problems.” In the next story, Fox and Rabbit scheme to make the “biggest, roundest, yummiest pizza in the world.” They pilfer ingredients from Sparrow’s garden (a nod to the first book) and ask Mouse for mozzarella. Subsequent stories—each contained in a chapter—involve a pizza-cooking dragon, the “really awesome” party, and a birthday wish that finally comes true. Dudás’ full-color cartoon illustrations complement Ferry’s chipper tone and punny dialogue for an upbeat woodland romp. Even the turtle, who always comically arrives at the end of the chapter and misses most of the action, gets to enjoy the party. Another standout scene, in which Fox assumes Dragon doesn’t speak their language and speaks “Dragonian” unprompted, gently addresses microaggressions. Though all dialogue is clearly linked to each speaker, some scenes with lots of back and forth within a single panel gear this to comics readers with a bit of experience. Still, the eight-panel–per-page max and short chapters keep the text accessible and pace quick.

Hooray, hooray for this par-tay. (Graphic early reader. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5183-7

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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While this is not an essential purchase, most little pumpkins will love being told, “Baby, I'm batty for you!” (Board book....

YOU ARE MY PUMPKIN

Young children won't understand the metaphors but will appreciate the sentiment made clear by the repeated, Halloween-themed declarations of love in Wan's latest board book.

Each of the seven spreads presents an endearment illustrated by an object drawn with heavy outlines and just enough detail to invoke its essential characteristics. Lest it become too maudlin, between the “sugary, sweet candy corn” and a “purr-fect, cuddly kitty” is a “wild, messy monster.” Wan manages to make each drawing expressive and distinctive while relying on just a few shapes—crescents or circles for eyes, dots or ovals accenting cheeks. Although each spread stands alone, there are quiet connections. For example, the orange of the pumpkin is repeated in the candy corn, and the purple that adorns kitty's hat and bow becomes the prominent color on the next spread, setting off the friendly white ghost nicely. The same purple is used for the spider's body on the next to last spread. Subtle, shadowed backgrounds repeat the patterns found elsewhere in the book. For example, the background of the page with the kitty includes pumpkins, hearts, and hats and bows like the ones kitty is wearing.

While this is not an essential purchase, most little pumpkins will love being told, “Baby, I'm batty for you!” (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: June 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-88092-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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