While possessing just a fraction of the magic that Hervé Tullet’s Press Here offers in abundance, this unexceptional...

THIS BOOK IS MAGIC

Wave a finger and a ship disappears; twirl the same finger and a cupcake appears.

Between swishing, rubbing, and tapping, readers are led to free a colorfully maned lion from its circus cage and to transform a princely frog into a flamingo. But aside from the clever use of “gone-zo,” the second-person narrative relies heavily on tired incantations such as “hocus pocus,” “shazam,” and “presto change-o.” Dull phrasing defuses what should be instinctive reactions of wonder. “Amazing! Bet you were wondering where the ship went. / You really are good at magic!” Disappointingly, Evanson chooses to launch her participatory adventure with a sleight-of-hand cliché. The hat trick features an aloof white Victorian rabbit that contrasts sharply with its engaging counterpart on the bold and sparkly cover. From the unimpressive stack of supersized books to the visually off-putting banquet of persimmon-, black-, and mustard-colored desserts, the prevailing matte pastel palette of the retro artwork fizzles rather than sizzles.

While possessing just a fraction of the magic that Hervé Tullet’s Press Here offers in abundance, this unexceptional addition to the ever expanding field of interactive titles holds some appeal for the preschool set. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-54392-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

PERFECTLY NORMAN

From the Big Bright Feelings series

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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Readers will delight in discovering the joyous time pumpkins have when it’s Halloween.

PUMPKIN MAGIC

Magical moonbeams awaken a pumpkin patch to raucous Halloween-season revelry.

A moonbeam illuminates and energizes a smiley-faced pumpkin sitting alone on a stair; it promptly takes off to find a friend with whom to have a good time. An entire pumpkin patch, also sparked by the magical moon, instantly comes alive. And what merriment all the grinning gourds get up to! Their playful shenanigans include piling high on top of one another, bouncing on a trampoline, dancing, marching, and drumming, wearing costumes, and competing in games. They even engage in activities usually reserved for other holiday-themed icons—flying on brooms and making magic, for instance. As dawn approaches, the pumpkin leader escorts the cavalcade back home. At sunrise, each one takes up residence on a different house’s front porch and awaits that evening’s moonbeams to work their magic again. Liveliness and good cheer abound in this frisky rhyming tale in which the perennial holiday symbols naturally take center stage. Perky couplets that read and scan very well appear on most pages and are accompanied by energetic, expressive illustrations that highlight vivid oranges, yellows, blues, purples, and greens with touches of other bright shades.

Readers will delight in discovering the joyous time pumpkins have when it’s Halloween. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-56332-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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