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DON'T WAKE THE YETI!

Thomas Hobbes would approve of this yeti’s natural state, but perhaps he should go by his other name: abominable.

Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a great surprise that yetis are big, hairy, emotional, flea-bitten, slug-eating, gas-blowing gross-outs.

They come at readers in couplets, these unsavory traits of the yeti that hides under the bed. Let it be known that not all yeti behaviors are disreputable: they enjoy baths if they can make a mess; if reminded, they brush their teeth; and they can shape-shift into chairs and rugs so mom doesn’t send them packing. But Freedman’s story is about celebrating the yeti’s grand bloopers. Don’t, for instance, bring him to school, even if he is equipped with a tiny backpack and tears in his eyes: “Of course when you tell him, ‘Off to school! Can’t be late!’ / he’ll beg to go with as your brand-new classmate.” (That couplet’s as curious as the yeti.) So the young white protagonist brings him to school, where, when he’s not gorming slugs on the playground, “he’ll make loud embarrassing noises—Phoo-eee!” Yes, that variety of windblast, for we have already covered eructation—“yetis say THANK YOU in BURPS!”—during the slobbering of breakfast. Ranucci endeavors to govern the proceedings with sweet-toned illustrations and party-cake colors, but when the topic is the yeti’s vast population of fleas, it’s best not to go too deep into the issue.

Thomas Hobbes would approve of this yeti’s natural state, but perhaps he should go by his other name: abominable. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1690-4

Page Count: 37

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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KNIGHT OWL

A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn.

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2022


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • Caldecott Honor

A young owl achieves his grand ambition.

Owl, an adorably earnest and gallant little owlet, dreams of being a knight. He imagines himself defeating dragons and winning favor far and wide through his brave exploits. When a record number of knights go missing, Owl applies to Knight School and is surprisingly accepted. He is much smaller than the other knights-in-training, struggles to wield weapons, and has “a habit of nodding off during the day.” Nevertheless, he graduates and is assigned to the Knight Night Watch. While patrolling the castle walls one night, a hungry dragon shows up and Owl must use his wits to avoid meeting a terrible end. The result is both humorous and heartwarming, offering an affirmation of courage and clear thinking no matter one’s size…and demonstrating the power of a midnight snack. The story never directly addresses the question of the missing knights, but it is hinted that they became the dragon’s fodder, leaving readers to question Owl’s decision to befriend the beast. Humor is supplied by the characters’ facial expressions and accented by the fact that Owl is the only animal in his order of big, burly human knights. Denise’s accomplished digital illustrations—many of which are full bleeds—often use a warm sepia palette that evokes a feeling of antiquity, and some spreads feature a pleasing play of chiaroscuro that creates suspense and drama.

A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-31062-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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BO'S MAGICAL NEW FRIEND

From the Unicorn Diaries series , Vol. 1

A surprisingly nuanced lesson set in confidence-building, easy-to-decode text.

A unicorn learns a friendship lesson in this chapter-book series opener.

Unicorn Bo has friends but longs for a “bestie.” Luckily, a new unicorn pops into existence (literally: Unicorns appear on especially starry nights) and joins Bo at the Sparklegrove School for Unicorns, where they study things like unicorn magic. Each unicorn has a special power; Bo’s is granting wishes. Not knowing what his own might be distresses new unicorn Sunny. When the week’s assignment is to earn a patch by using their unicorn powers to help someone, Bo hopes Sunny will wish to know Bo's power (enabling both unicorns to complete the task, and besides, Bo enjoys Sunny’s company and wants to help him). But when the words come out wrong, Sunny thinks Bo was feigning friendship to get to grant a wish and earn a patch, setting up a fairly sophisticated conflict. Bo makes things up to Sunny, and then—with the unicorns friends again and no longer trying to force their powers—arising circumstances enable them to earn their patches. The cheerful illustrations feature a sherbet palette, using patterns for texture; on busy pages with background colors similar to the characters’ color schemes, this combines with the absence of outlines to make discerning some individual characters a challenge. The format, familiar to readers of Elliott’s Owl Diaries series, uses large print and speech bubbles to keep pages to a manageable amount of text.

A surprisingly nuanced lesson set in confidence-building, easy-to-decode text. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-32332-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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