A flight of fancy, verbally and visually spare, that any would-be “star” will gladly take.

CIRCUS GIRL

A child transforms her bedroom into the big top.

The book opens with a couple of introductory views of an ordinary room featuring a bed, “a leotard / socks / and a girl.” Following this, a whirl of sheets opens the show. Changing in tandem, the narrative’s initial, hair-fine typeface turns to big, florid circus-poster type as the performance begins. Illustrations drawn in simple outlines of orange crayon burgeon into colorful scenes of awe-inspiring leaps, swoops and circus acrobatics on a trapeze or atop an elephant, a lion and other stuffed animals that have become real. Having thoroughly demonstrated that she’s “daring and /dazzling / and Oh! so / dramatic,” the young performer finally snuggles down for the night, secure in the knowledge that she is “star / of the show.” Thinly applied colors and broad areas of white space give Pernice’s pictures and the imaginary playscape they depict a diaphanous look that may seem washed-out to some viewers—and, to others, appropriately dreamlike.

A flight of fancy, verbally and visually spare, that any would-be “star” will gladly take. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-927018-36-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simply Read

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization.

A PLACE FOR PLUTO

If Pluto can’t be a planet—then what is he?

Having been a regular planet for “the better part of forever,” Pluto is understandably knocked out of orbit by his sudden exclusion. With Charon and his four other moons in tow he sets off in search of a new identity. Unfortunately, that only spins him into further gloom, as he doesn’t have a tail like his friend Halley’s comet, is too big to join Ida and the other asteroids, and feels disinclined to try to crash into Earth like meteoroids Gem and Persi. Then, just as he’s about to plunge into a black hole of despair, an encounter with a whole quartet of kindred spheroids led by Eris rocks his world…and a follow-up surprise party thrown by an apologetic Saturn (“Dwarf planet has a nice RING to it”) and the other seven former colleagues literally puts him “over the moon.” Demmer gives all the heavenly bodies big eyes (some, including the feminine Saturn, with long lashes) and, on occasion, short arms along with distinctive identifying colors or markings. Dressing the troublemaking meteoroids in do-rags and sunglasses sounds an off note. Without mentioning that the reclassification is still controversial, Wade closes with a (somewhat) straighter account of Pluto’s current official status and the reasons for it.

Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-004-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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Young readers with a fondness for amphibians will jump all over this one. (Fiction. 6-8)

STINK AND THE FREAKY FROG FREAKOUT

From the Stink series , Vol. 8

Stink Moody, younger brother of Judy, hops into the spotlight with a common problem—and  one that’s a bit more unusual.

Stink would like to advance in his swimming lessons, but he’s afraid to put his face underwater and seems doomed to remain a Polliwog forever. Fortunately, he’s distracted from that issue by the sudden appearance around town—in some surprising places—of a whole lot of real frogs, a few of which are deformed. These frogs give McDonald the opportunity to offer a little information, through the voice of a nature-center guide, on how adverse environmental conditions can influence frog development. Stink memorizes a variety of frog sounds, enabling him to participate in a frog count at a local pond. Somehow, he becomes convinced that he’s turning into a frog himself, but that might just make it possible for him to swim underwater. Brief, cheery, oversized text and lot of cartoonish black-and-white illustrations (only some of which were available for review) make this a good choice for newly independent readers. A minor issue is that the text informs readers that it is early spring; even in Virginia, that’s a little early for Stink to be taking swimming lessons in an outdoor pool, as indicated in the illustrations.

Young readers with a fondness for amphibians will jump all over this one. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6140-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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