This delightful story will appeal to everyone from younger preschoolers to new readers to dog lovers of any age.


An appealing black-and-white dog finds a home with a little girl and her parents after rescuing the child’s lost teddy bear.

A striking cover presents a simple, inviting image of the little dog with a quizzical expression. The story begins on the front endpapers with multiple spot illustrations of the dog looking sad and lonely. The dedication double-page–spread shows the dog observing a little girl and her mom leaving their house for a bike ride, with the child in her own little seat holding her teddy bear. Each page or spread has just two words of text, with a different adjective modifying the word “dog.” The pup’s struggles and emotions are ingeniously conveyed with this textual device, following the dog through danger, hunger, loneliness, and the brave restoration of the missing bear to the little girl. In a touching conclusion, the hopeful child asks her parents, “My dog?” Teddy bear, girl, and dog are ready to start their new life together on the last spread with a gigantic speech balloon stating, “Good dog.” The little girl has brown skin and black hair in cornrows, like her dad, and her mom has light skin. A busy scene at a city park shows a vibrant community with people of different ethnicities and ages, including several with disabilities. Digitally produced illustrations use a muted palette with smudgy edges and heavy, black outlines delineating the characters, complementing a thoughtful, well-paced design.

This delightful story will appeal to everyone from younger preschoolers to new readers to dog lovers of any age. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266286-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)


A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.


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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