Delightfully clever.



On their first play date, two girls have vastly different ideas about what their dolls can and should do.

The hostess, a brown-skinned girl with puffy red hair whose “perfect” bedroom is princess themed, owns a Princess Penelope doll that wears an evening gown and “real glass slippers.” The guest, an Asian girl wearing a dinosaur T-shirt, brought her Penny doll too—only hers wears a black motorcycle jacket, boots, and sunglasses. Readers will note that each doll resembles her owner. The dolls take over in the illustrations, with alternating black and purple text showing the girls’ suggestions for play. Princess Penelope wants to host a tea party and ride ponies. But Penny “isn’t a princess” and doesn’t have a pony. She’s a secret agent with a racing bike. Their ideas of fun clash, but when a werewolf appears in the kingdom, Penelope shows that she’s not “just a princess.” The two team up, using the Princess’ resourcefulness and Penny’s skills to save the day. The watercolor illustrations move from a pastel-dominated palette interrupted by Penny’s black suit to a green countryside and back again, skillfully transforming characters, expressions, and settings. The theme of merging girly things with smarts and power is rightly popular right now; this action-packed romp through two girls’ imaginations is a fun addition to the collection.

Delightfully clever. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-15607-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...


With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.


A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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