WAFFLE

Raschka’s work can be difficult to grasp (at least by adults)—sometimes his elliptical writing style and calligraphic art leaves gaps that are hard to leap across, and it takes children to show the way. But this effort will zoom straight into the souls of young and old. For you see, Waffle worried. And wiggled. And wondered. “Waffle waffled. He felt awful.” Then in two pages full of typographic “waffles” that break apart and re-form themselves into a different word—he flew. And though he is still anxious, “Waffle flew.” This allegory of inner growth is illustrated by a very abstract little boy, with checkered pants, a pink streak of a face, and deeply expressive facial features rendered by a few dots and lines. The audience to his waffles and worries is a constellation of multicolored round faces that seem to be laughing at Waffle or maybe just enjoying themselves, as they jostle each other and outline various formations. But when Waffle flies, their grins turn to astonishment. And Waffle knows he’s “worked a wonder (within).” For children who might find Wemberly Worried (2000) too straightforward by half, this gentle allegory could be just the ticket. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83838-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Richard Jackson/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2001

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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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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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