Fun to read and visually appealing but unlikely to be a perennial favorite.

WOULD YOU RATHER BE A PRINCESS OR A DRAGON?

Humorous rhymes and comical pictures compare stereotypical expectations of princesses and dragons, ending with a sly observation.

On the first verso, a froglike creature is reading a book that is explained on the recto: “Would you rather be a princess or a dragon? You’ll never know which one to be until you’ve tried. / If you want to be a princess or a dragon, here’s a book that might help you decide.” The text goes on to compare such “truisms” as princesses’ preference for the color pink and dragons’ for green; bubble baths vs. dirt and dainty eating vs. gorging are a couple of the other sets of oppositions. Striving for consistent rhyme can be a challenge: it’s a stretch to think of “a perfect princess wave” as the opposite of looking for “the perfect dragon cave.” The rhymes do not always scan well, but the combination of mixed-media cartoon art and lighthearted text will keep young children engaged. The face of the princess is a few shades darker than lily-white, topped by wavy auburn hair; the friendly-appearing dragon seems to be cut from textured green paper, its features inked on top. The use of photographed pink bubble wrap for the princess’s bubble bath adds to the frivolous mood. The ending combines a not-very-subtle reminder about the need to question behavioral expectations for children with a sight gag.

Fun to read and visually appealing but unlikely to be a perennial favorite. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62672-358-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Who ya gonna call? A different snowplow book.

SCOOPER AND DUMPER

Friends don’t let friends expire in snowdrifts.

Convoluted storytelling and confusing art turn a cute premise into a mishmash of a book. Scooper’s a front loader that works in the town salt yard, replenishing the snowplows that arrive. Dumper’s her best friend, more than happy to plow and salt the roads himself. When the big city calls in Dumper to help with a snow squall, he brushes off Scooper’s concerns. Yet slippery roads and a seven-vehicle pileup launch poor Dumper onto his side in a snowbank. Can Scooper overcome fears that she’s too slow and save the day? Following a plot as succinct as this should be a breeze, but the rhyming text obfuscates more than it clarifies. Lines such as, “Dumper’s here— / let’s rock ’n’ roll! / Big city’s callin’ for / some small-town soul” can prove impenetrable. The art of the book matches this confusion, with light-blue Dumper often hard to pick out among other, similarly colored vehicles, particularly in the snowstorm. Speech bubbles, as when the city calls for Scooper’s and Dumper’s help, lead to a great deal of visual confusion. Scooper is also featured sporting long eyelashes and a bow, lest anyone mistake the dithering, frightened truck as anything but female. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 16.8% of actual size.)

Who ya gonna call? A different snowplow book. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9268-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A cozy read for bibliophiles.

SNOWMAN'S STORY

With echoes of “Frosty the Snowman” in the background, a snowman’s storybook within this wordless book delivers a comic wintertime romp.

Woodland creatures build a snowman, giving him a green book as a finishing touch. This addition comes right after a windswept top hat lands on his head, vivifying him à la Frosty. Hidden inside is a rabbit (it is a magic hat, after all); attentive readers will have seen the hat first on frontmatter pages and then with the bunny in the double-page spreads before the early ones devoted to the snowman’s construction. The snowman reads his book aloud to the animals, with the rabbit surreptitiously listening in, its ears poking out of the top of the hat. When the others all drift off to sleep, the bunny emerges and steals away with the book. A chase ensues across snowy terrain and through a series of pages (perhaps a few too many for good pacing) replete with comic-style panels. When the animals and snowman confront the rabbit in its tree-hollow home, its motivation for book thievery is revealed: This bunny has a family and wishes to share the story with its children. All’s well that ends well, and the animals convene (safely outside and away from the rabbit family’s crackling fireplace) to read together.

A cozy read for bibliophiles. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4787-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more