IN THE LAND OF TWILIGHT

Though the format is attractive, its rambling airiness will disappoint Lindgren fans and have a limited audience.

The third book from this Swedish team relates a fanciful dream tale that sharply contrasts with their realistic previous two (A Calf for Christmas and Goran’s Great Escape, 2010, 2011).

Told in first person by a boy who’s been told he won’t walk again because of a bad leg, the tale recounts his visit to the Land of Twilight with Mr. Lilyvale, who comes through his window. They fly over the sights and scenes of Stockholm, from the spire of St. Clara’s Church to Kronoberg Park, where red and yellow candies grow on trees. The boy drives a tram off a bridge and into a river and then steers a bus to a countryside farm, where he meets a talking moose, dances and eats. Mr. Lilyvale even presents him at court to the King and Queen of the Land of Twilight. Throughout their travels, Mr. Lilyvale repeatedly says, “Nothing really matters in the Land of Twilight,” with the last sentence explicitly affirming the sentiment: “It really doesn’t matter if you have a bad leg, because in the Land of Twilight you can fly.” The message seems questionable here—that your imagination can take you anywhere? At times readers may find themselves wondering if it isn't an extended metaphor for death. The watercolor illustrations waft across the pages, incorporating twilight colors in a breezy style.

Though the format is attractive, its rambling airiness will disappoint Lindgren fans and have a limited audience. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: June 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-86315-886-5

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Floris

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

THIS IS A GOOD STORY

Best for readers who have clearly indicated they would like to take their writing efforts to the next level.

A young white girl writes and illustrates a story, which is critiqued by the narrator as it is created.

The girl begins her story by drawing a Hero. Then she thinks maybe a Heroine would be better. Then she decides both will work. She places them in “a good town, filled with good people, called our Setting.” The narrator, an unseen editor who lurks over the artist’s shoulder, tells the storyteller she needs to put in some Conflict, make the Evil Overlord scarier, and give it better action. This tongue-in-cheek way of delivering the rules of creative writing is clever, and paired with Le Huche’s earnest, childlike illustrations, it seems to be aimed at giving helpful direction to aspiring young creators (although the illustrations are not critiqued). But the question needs to be asked: do very young writers really need to know the rules of writing as determined by adults? While the story appears to be about helping young readers learn writing—there is “A Friendly List of Words Used in this Book” at the end with such words as “protagonist” and “antagonist” (glossed as “Hero and Heroine” and “Evil Overlord,” respectively)—it also has a decidedly unhelpful whiff of judgment. Rules, the text seems to say, must be followed for the story to be a Good one. Ouch.

Best for readers who have clearly indicated they would like to take their writing efforts to the next level. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2935-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

IT'S NOT THE THREE LITTLE PIGS

From the It's Not a Fairy Tale series , Vol. 4

Will leave readers as happy as a pig in mud.

It’s good to embrace change.

Although an unseen narrator attempts to tell an accustomed version of “The Three Little Pigs”—here named Alan, Alfred, and Alvin Albert—their younger sister, Alison, wants to get in on the action because she’s a natural storyteller. The narrator grudgingly allows Alison to tag along, but her added bits of flavor and the unexpected personalities of her brothers soon send the story off its traditional tracks and into hilarious hijinks. For example, Alan’s love of building allows him to design a functional house made of plastic drinking straws, Alfred’s stick house is actually constructed by Alan because Alfred’s clearly a star and not stage crew, and Alvin’s shacking up in a pumpkin behind Cinderella’s castle because he’s…not the crispiest piece of bacon on the plate. Alison’s quick thinking leads the brothers to be one step ahead of the wandering wolf. When the narrator hits their limit, a conversation with Alison proves that collaboration can lead to unexpected but wonderful results. The story flows well, accompanied by energetic cartoon art, and the choice to color-code the speech bubbles of each character (and the text of the narrator vs. Alison) ensures readers will be able to follow the snappy dialogue. Those who love to make up their own stories will be inspired, and readers who march to the beats of their own drums will be delighted. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Will leave readers as happy as a pig in mud. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-3243-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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