A cozy last spread finds a sleeping Sam cuddling his beloved blanky: cheerful adventure with a most agreeable end.

FLY BLANKY FLY

A bubbly boy, his adventurous imagination and one brightly hued blanky make for an exuberant bedtime tale.

In his yellow footie sleeper, Sam gallivants across sea and sky, transported by his quilted blanky. It’s a rocket and a kangaroo, then whale and train, changing at Sam’s command. With an opening stanza that is reminiscent of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” in its anticipatory excitement, the text continues with rhyming stanzas that propel it forward, each beginning with a simile and ending with a directive (“ZOOM BLANKY ZOOM!”). Chavarri further emphasizes the blanky’s role in these fantasies, using the quilt’s patterns on each object it becomes. Young readers will be able to identify the colorful fabric on such things as the wings of a butterfly, the shell of a turtle and the sails of boat. While the blanket transforms radically, Sam is extremely consistent, from the way he’s drawn to his expression. The child’s cheerful face stands out, as it’s done in a digital, Flash-animated style. This contrasts with the blandness of his figure, giving him a disembodied effect. Despite this, the artist's illustrations, done in a brilliant, primary palette, are pleasing. Endpages show the blanky characters at their most appealing; as pencil drawings they recall classic Little Golden Books illustrations.

A cozy last spread finds a sleeping Sam cuddling his beloved blanky: cheerful adventure with a most agreeable end. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199996-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here.

ONE LOVE

A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus.

Using only the refrain from the original (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!”), the reggae great’s daughter Cedella Marley sees this song as her “happy song” and adapts it for children. However, the adaptation robs it of life. After the opening lines, readers familiar with the original song (or the tourism advertisement for Jamaica) will be humming along only to be stopped by the bland lines that follow: “One love, what the flower gives the bee.” and then “One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree.” Brantley-Newton’s sunny illustrations perfectly reflect the saccharine quality of the text. Starting at the beginning of the day, readers see a little girl first in bed, under a photograph of Bob Marley, the sun streaming into her room, a bird at the window. Each spread is completely redundant—when the text is about family love, the illustration actually shows little hearts floating from her parents to the little girl. An image of a diverse group getting ready to plant a community garden, walking on top of a river accompanies the words “One love, like the river runs to the sea.”

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0224-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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PRINCESSES WEAR PANTS

This book wants to be feminist.

Princess Penelope Pineapple, illustrated as a white girl with dark hair and eyes, is the Amelia Bloomer of the Pineapple Kingdom. She has dresses, but she prefers to wear pants as she engages in myriad activities ranging from yoga to gardening, from piloting a plane to hosting a science fair. When it’s time for the Pineapple Ball, she imagines wearing a sparkly pants outfit, but she worries about Grand Lady Busyboots’ disapproval: “ ‘Pants have no place on a lady!’ she’d say. / ‘That’s how it has been, and that’s how it shall stay.’ ” In a moment of seeming dissonance between the text and art, Penny seems to resolve to wear pants, but then she shows up to the ball in a gown. This apparent contradiction is resolved when the family cat, Miss Fussywiggles, falls from the castle into the moat and Princess Penelope saves her—after stripping off her gown to reveal pink, flowered swimming trunks and a matching top. Impressed, Grand Lady Busyboots resolves that princesses can henceforth wear whatever they wish. While seeing a princess as savior rather than damsel in distress may still seem novel, it seems a stretch to cast pants-wearing as a broadly contested contemporary American feminist issue. Guthrie and Oppenheim’s unimaginative, singsong rhyme is matched in subtlety by Byrne’s bright illustrations.

Skip it . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2603-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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