The kimonos in this title are shown on “creative” (non-traditional) Kokeshi that have evolved from their origins as stickers...

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KIMONOS

Kokeshi, northern Japanese wooden folk dolls, are painted with differently designed kimonos that denote the area in which they are made and form the inspiration for this pretty novelty.

The kimonos in this title are shown on “creative” (non-traditional) Kokeshi that have evolved from their origins as stickers in France. (Their images are also produced on notecards and journals.) A stilted text, translated from French, accompanies these commercialized, cartoon-like images. The glossy, heavy stock, saturated with a sophisticated palette of black, brown, maroon, bluish-gray and green, teems with kawaii kokeshi— “super cute little wooden dolls”—who talk and act like contemporary little girls. Readers are invited to find the right sash, fan and hair bow to match Kimiyo’s outfit. They locate Yumi’s apartment by lifting the flap that matches her sash. A large gate-fold page reveals Yumi’s family members and another game that involves matching designs to determine her maternal and paternal families. A schoolroom scene shows the days of the week, both in transliteration and in Japanese characters. There are more words to learn when a star (hoshi), a rabbit (usagi) and a pair of socks (tabi), among other objects, serve as inspiration for funny hairstyles that appear when a die-cut page turns.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0493-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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Fun, fun, fun all through the town!

THE HIPS ON THE DRAG QUEEN GO SWISH, SWISH, SWISH

This book’s gonna werk, werk, werk all through Pride Month and beyond.

Drag persona Lil Miss Hot Mess rewrites “The Wheels on the Bus” to create a fun, movement-filled, family-friendly celebration of drag. The text opens with the titular verse to establish the familiar song’s formulaic pattern: “The hips on the drag queen go SWISH, SWISH, SWISH… / ALL THROUGH THE TOWN!” Along the way, more and more drag queens join in the celebration. The unnamed queens proudly display a range of skin tones, sizes, and body modifications to create a diverse cast of realistic characters that could easily be spotted at a Pride event or on RuPaul’s Drag Race. The palette of both costumes and backgrounds is appropriately psychedelic, and there are plenty of jewels going “BLING, BLING, BLING.” Don’t tell the queens, but the flow is the book’s real star, because it encourages natural kinetic participation that will have groups of young readers giggling and miming along with the story. Libraries and bookshops hosting drag-queen storytimes will find this a popular choice, and those celebrating LGBTQ+ heritage will also find this a useful book for the pre-K crowd. Curious children unfamiliar with a drag queen may require a brief explanation, but the spectacle stands up just fine on its own platforms.

Fun, fun, fun all through the town! (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6765-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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A lightweight fear-dispeller, without the gun violence that now makes Mercer Mayer’s There’s a Nightmare in My Closet (1968)...

MONSTERS AREN'T REAL

Beaten down by a ubiquitous chorus of denials (see title), a monster suffers an existential crisis.

Surrounded by emphatic claims that it doesn’t even exist, a monster sets out not only to prove the contrary, but to establish its scariness credentials too. Alas, neither blasting the world with graffiti and printed fliers nor rearing up menacingly over a baby in a carriage, children at the barre in a ballet class and other supposedly susceptible victims elicits any response. Juggling some cows attracts attention but not the terrified kind. But the monster’s final despairing surrender—“That’s it! It’s over! I give up! ... /  Monsters aren’t real (sniff)”—triggers an indignant denial of a different sort from a second, smaller but wilder-looking, creature. It takes the first in hand and leads it off, declaring “We’re two big, strong, scary monsters, and we’ll prove it.” In truth, it won’t escape even very young readers that neither is particularly scary-looking. Indeed, the protagonist-monster is depicted in the sparsely detailed cartoon illustrations as a furry, almost cuddly, bearlike hulk with light-blue spots, antlers and comically googly eyes, certain to provoke more giggles than screams.

A lightweight fear-dispeller, without the gun violence that now makes Mercer Mayer’s There’s a Nightmare in My Closet (1968) so discomfiting. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61067-073-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2012

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