Splendid introductions, chock-full of villainous revelations and insights both figurative and literal.

READ REVIEW

INSIDE THE VILLAINS

The title can be taken literally, as the figures of a wolf, a giant, and a witch posing on the right sides of each big spread are kitted out with artful multilayered flaps that, lifted up, reveal contents of heads and stomachs as well as underclothes and pockets full of knives, captive children, or other treasures.

Thus, readers tantalized by the wolf’s list of strengths and flaws and a full version of “The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats” beneath the gatefold opposite can peel aside his pelt to see him clad in “Grandma’s nightgown,” open up his head to see strategies for getting into various houses, move his jaws up and down to marvel at his big teeth, and lift up a cut spiral to view kids and other victims in his “Misery-guts.” Or lift the witch’s petticoat for a gander at her underpants, or peer beneath the giant’s vest to reveal tattoos with “Hangry,” “Sausage Power,” and other legends. Each villain is presented with one unabridged tale (“Jack and the Beanstalk” and “Alyoshka and Baba Yaga” are the other two) and lots of oblique but easily recognizable references (“THINGS I HATE: Mirrors, girls fairer than I, children who are too smart, wide open ovens”). In addition, each profile includes a list of other related, popular stories (mostly but not entirely European). The witch, the giant, and all of the smaller human figures are white.

Splendid introductions, chock-full of villainous revelations and insights both figurative and literal. (Novelty/folklore. 6-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-776571-98-7

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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The underwater setting adds some dimension to straightforward friendship stories.

TROUBLE AT TRIDENT ACADEMY

From the Mermaid Tales series , Vol. 1

Prolific Dadey's (Keyholders: The Wrong Side of Magic, 2010, etc.) latest series follows young mermaids through turbulent friendships.

Eight-year-old best friends Shelly and Echo are overjoyed to be starting school at the prestigious Trident Academy at the same time. Rambunctious and good-natured, together they cause mild trouble, especially in trying to find a way to make grumpy Mr. Fangtooth crack a smile. Their friendship wobbles when they disagree over whether to ask Shelly's grandfather for help on a school project or not. The minor tiff leads to Echo's sudden friendship with Pearl, a rich snob who dislikes Shelly most of all. Echo and Shelly miss each other, though, and restore their friendship while reaching out to another mermaid who is new to the area and has made friends. While Echo and Shelly are not particularly distinctive, and Pearl and the archetypal token boy, Rocky, are cartoony, the characters' interactions are funny and believable. The friendship-driven conflicts continue in Battle of the Best Friends (publishing simultaneously). In Battle, Pearl books a top under-the-sea band to perform and invites Echo but not Shelly; the end again reinforces the importance of inclusiveness and rewards those who are nice.

The underwater setting adds some dimension to straightforward friendship stories. (class reports written by each character, song lyrics, author's note, glossary) (Fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4978-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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Italics and exclamation points may be overused, but this new humorous series is full of gently amusing magical surprises.

THE SUPER-SPOOKY FRIGHT NIGHT!

From the Hubble Bubble series , Vol. 1

Shades of Bewitched, the old TV show featuring a witch married to a regular guy.

This new chapter-book series stars Pandora, a white girl with two grandmas—the good witch, Granny Crow, in a patterned minidress, whose magical powers enliven any party or school outing, and Granny Podmore, in her cardigan and plaid skirt, a kind but stereotypical grandmother who cleans and cooks. Pandora’s friends include Nellie, a black girl, and Nellie’s mom is also depicted as black in the exuberant line drawings with gray washes. The three chapterlong adventures are rather tame, meant for readers who want fun rather than fright. In “The Super-Spooky Fright Night!” (all titles have exclamation points), the two grandmothers host a Halloween party. Granny Crow creates “bat-shaped cookies that hung around the bowls, and a custard cat (that actually meowed!).” Granny Podmore makes “the neatest swans” from napkins. Granny Crow conjures up musical broomsticks when Granny Podmore wants to introduce musical chairs. The evening ends happily when Granny Podmore uses Ollie, her vacuum cleaner, to suck up little pumpkins from Granny Crow’s pumpkin pop gone wild. Only Granny Crow appears in the other stories, making teddy bears come alive to give a “teddy bears’ picnic!” and causing a nasty teacher to accidentally cast a spell that turns a school swimming lesson into utter chaos.

Italics and exclamation points may be overused, but this new humorous series is full of gently amusing magical surprises. (Fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8653-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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