Delightful. (Picture book. 3-8)

HELLO MISTER COLD

From the Tales from the Hidden Valley series , Vol. 2

The second book in the Tales from the Hidden Valley picture-book series, translated from Spanish, sets the storybook tone by repeating its predecessor’s lead-in paragraph, then moves into its winter-setting story.

Maximilian Cold, “child of the richest…coldest family in town” wants to be a musician, so his horrified family disowns him. Then “The Band” he joins, disliking his musical improvisations, fires him. He hops a train, and the other musical hobos literally throw him out. Sheltering in a cave, he finds the floor giving way underneath him, and he slides amid “fossils and precious stones” to another world—the world Yula and the other anthropomorphic animals of The Artists (2018) inhabit. Porta’s whimsy shines as his impeccable design and fanciful illustrations are aided and abetted by the droll text. The tiny, onion-headed magical ballerina met previously (now delightfully called “Onion-head”) finds the shivering Maxi and dresses him in so many layers of winter clothes that he looks like a big “Thing.” The Thing inadvertently scares Yula (who was walking to Sara’s), and she faints. Concerned, Maxi carries her to a hollow tree. A watching raven becomes alarmed and flies off to tell Sara, who notifies her quirky friends, and they come up with a madcap scheme to drive Maxi away. All ends well, though, presented so matter-of-factly that readers will have no concerns that Maxi and the animals won’t become great friends. Maxi, the only human in the Hidden Valley, presents white.

Delightful. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-911171-56-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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Not astonishingly go-out-and-buy-it-at-graduation inspirational, but all it takes is one seed of change to be planted.

GOING PLACES

Imagination soars—quite literally—when a little girl follows her own set of rules.

Every year Oak Hill School has a go-kart race called the Going Places contest. Students are given identical go-kart kits with a precise set of instructions. And of course, every single kart ends up exactly the same. Every one, that is, except Maya’s. Maya is a dreamy artist, and she would rather sketch birds in her backyard than get caught up in the competition. When she finally does start working, she uses the parts in the go-kart box but creates something completely different. No one ever said it had to be a go-kart. Maya’s creative thinking inspires Rafael, her neighbor (and the most enthusiastic Going Places contestant), to ask to team up. The instructions never say they couldn’t work together, either! An ode to creativity and individuality to be sure, but the Reynolds brothers are also taking a swipe at modern education: Endless repetition and following instructions without question create a culture of conformity. Hopefully now, readers will see infinite possibility every time the system hands them an identical go-kart box.

Not astonishingly go-out-and-buy-it-at-graduation inspirational, but all it takes is one seed of change to be planted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-6608-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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