Imported from Spain, an intriguing, enchantingly rendered real fairy tale.

THE COTTINGLEY FAIRIES

When two English girls photograph fairies near their home in Cottingley, Yorkshire, it causes quite a stir in 1919.

Narrator Frances and her cousin Elsie spend most of their free time in the forest, swimming in the stream, climbing trees, napping, and playing with woodland creatures. Hoping adults will “see what we see,” the girls photograph themselves with fairies, enhancing the photos with “imagination, pencils, paper, and scissors.” Surprisingly, many adults take notice, including famous author Arthur Conan Doyle, whose writings “defending the authenticity” of the photos bring people from all over to Cottingley’s woods looking for the fairies. But when no one can see the fairies, Frances and Elsie confess “part of the truth,” about the “scissors and paper,” and the visitors depart, believing all’s a hoax. But is it? Whimsical pencil illustrations, rendered in simple lines, patterns, and a somber palette of grays, blues, and tans, transport the enigmatic text to the fringe of fairyland. Cryptic scenes of the cousins reveal them from arresting perspectives as they frolic in the forest, photographing the mischievous fairies and spying on invading adults. All the humans depicted are white. Based on history, Frances’ first-person narration will leave readers wondering what really happened.

Imported from Spain, an intriguing, enchantingly rendered real fairy tale. (note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4338-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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Comfy and cozy, with nary a meanie in sight.

GRANDUDE'S GREEN SUBMARINE

Following Hey, Grandude (2019), more jolly fun as the title character squires his four young “Chillers” aboard a green sub (where does Sir Paul get his ideas?) to catch up with his partner in adventure: Nandude!

Casting about for something to do on a sweltering day, the multiracial quartet eagerly follows their grizzled White gramps down to an underground chamber where a viridian vessel awaits to take them soaring through the sky to a distant land. There, Grandude’s old friend Ravi plays a tune of Nandude’s that accompanies them after they leave him. It leads them under the sea to an octopus’s garden and a briefly scary tangle with the ink-spraying giant. The monster’s set to dancing, though, as Nandude floats up in her own accordion-shaped ship to carry everyone home for tea, biscuits, and bed in a swirl of notes. Aside maybe from the odd spray of shiny stars here and there, Durst steers clear of sight gags and direct visual references to the film or music in her cheery cartoon scenes. Both she and the text do kit Ravi out, appropriately, with a sitar, but there’s no 1960s-style psychedelia to be seen. Nostalgic adults may be disappointed to see that even the submarine bears no resemblance to the iconic vessel of the film but instead just looks like a plush, smiling toy whale, eyes and all. Children, of course, won’t care. That this book does not try to trade (heavily) on its antecedents makes it a refreshing change from so many other celebrity titles. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Comfy and cozy, with nary a meanie in sight. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-37243-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Both a beautiful celebration of black culture and an excellent first black history book for young children.

BLACK IS A RAINBOW COLOR

A young black child ponders the colors in the rainbow and a crayon box and realizes that while black is not a color in the rainbow, black culture is a rainbow of its own.

In bright paints and collage, Holmes shows the rainbow of black skin tones on each page while Joy’s text describes what “Black is” physically and culturally. It ranges from the concrete, such as “the braids in my best friend’s hair,” to the conceptual: “Black is soft-singing, ‘Hush now, don’t explain’ ”—a reference to the song “Don’t Explain” made popular by Billie Holiday and Nina Simone, the former depicted in full song with her signature camellia and the latter at her piano. Joy alludes throughout the brief text to poetry, music, figures, and events in black history, and several pages of backmatter supply the necessary context for caregivers who need a little extra help explaining them to listeners. Additionally, there is a playlist of songs to accompany reading as well as three poems: “Harlem,” by Langston Hughes, and “We Wear the Mask” and “Sympathy,” by Paul Laurence Dunbar. The author also includes a historical timeline describing some of the names that have been used to describe and label black people in the United States since 1619.

Both a beautiful celebration of black culture and an excellent first black history book for young children. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62672-631-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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