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

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DON'T WAKE THE YETI!

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 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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

BO'S MAGICAL NEW FRIEND

From the Unicorn Diaries series , Vol. 1

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. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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A slim, feel-good story, as light and airy as the rainbows that grace its pages.

NOT QUITE NARWHAL

Being true to yourself means embracing differences and striding (or paddling) fearlessly into the world.

Emerging from a giant clam, baby unicorn Kelp lives among narwhals, believing he’s just not as good as everyone else at swimming, appreciating a squid dinner, or breathing underwater (he sports a glass diving helmet—with a gasket-encircled hole for his horn). Swept close to shore one day, he spies for the first time an adult unicorn and, struck by the resemblance to himself, totters onto solid ground. The “land narwhals” explain to him that they—and he—are unicorns. Kelp’s blissful new life of learning to do special unicorn things amid sparkles and rainbows is punctuated by sadness over the narwhal friends he left behind. Upon returning to his watery home, Kelp learns that the narwhals knew all along that he was actually a unicorn. Following a brief internal tussle over where he truly belongs, Kelp recognizes that he doesn’t have to be just one thing or another and happily unites his friends at the shoreline. As seen in Sima’s soft, digital illustrations, Kelp is adorable, and she evokes both undersea and aboveground environments artfully. The message is an appealing one that could speak to many family situations relating to multiple identities, but the central dilemma is resolved so quickly and easily that there is little room for emotional engagement.

A slim, feel-good story, as light and airy as the rainbows that grace its pages. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6909-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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