Read the book and then go brush your teeth.

THE CANDY CONSPIRACY

A TALE OF SWEET VICTORY

Children stage a surprising revolution in an ultrasweet kingdom ruled by a sugared tyrant.

Candyville certainly looks delicious, with lollipop trees and cupcake flowers and rivers of root beer, all in sweet, bright colors. But the place is ruled by the evil Juicy Jelly Worm, a pink-and-golden monster that gorges on sweets all day, which he forces the children of the land to harvest. Worst of all, they are not allowed to partake. They dig a secret garden, plant some special seeds and wait for their vegetables to grow. Juicy Jelly Worm learns of their activities and demands to see the garden. The children are one step ahead of him, highlighting the "sweet" in sweet potatoes, the "cherry" in cherry tomatoes, the "butter" in butternut squash. The Juicy Jelly Worm wants it all—"Candy?…Mine!"—and the cleverest of the children makes a provocative proposal. The salivating Worm agrees to trade his kingdom for the garden of the children. And so they get all the sweets! Snyder peppers the book with tiny boxed messages, apparently intended to ensure that readers see her story as a spoof: "Warning: Children have died from eating their veggies." But will they get the irony? Dávila's bright pictures look truly delectable, and nutritionists and dentists everywhere will groan as the children chomp down on all the sweets.

Read the book and then go brush your teeth. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-77147-050-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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Aspirational—but not quite ascending to the inspirational.

MY VOICE IS A TRUMPET

Explores different ways one’s voice can be used.

The unidentified narrator begins by chronicling different types of voices: “loud and proud,” “soft and sweet,” “patient and wise,” and more. The Deaf community is included in both text and art, and sign language is alluded to: “There’s a voice that is silent / but STILL CAN BE HEARD / with hands that move / to speak EVERY word.” The vibrant, colorful art presents an array of children of different races and skin tones. Unfortunately, this well-meaning book does not cohere. The art in some spreads does not appear to augment or even connect to the text. For example, the lines “I’LL SAY NO TO HATE / by using this voice / and ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE— / a magical choice” are illustrated with a spread of four children: one playing the trumpet, another singing, one with a drum major’s hat and baton, and the final child skateboarding. Readers may be confused by how these images apply to the text since they have no direct relation to saying no to hate or choosing love. Spreads with children holding protest signs feel disconnected to the present moment with no Black Lives Matter or BLM–related signs depicted. Some text excludes nonbinary children, asserting “we’re SISTERS / and BROTHERS.”

Aspirational—but not quite ascending to the inspirational. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-35218-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flamingo Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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