Given that feisty, dirt-or-danger-loving princesses are almost a subgenre of princess books, don’t choose this one first.

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DANGEROUSLY EVER AFTER

A story about a princess who relishes danger, illustrated with incongruous glossiness.

Princess Amanita loves anything perilous, from “her pet scorpion, and her brakeless bicycle, and her collection of daggers and broken glass” to a sporting walk, blindfolded, at a moat’s edge. Prince Florian (from a neighboring kingdom) accidentally blows a hole in her wheelbarrow by cutting, from her vine, an apparent bunch of grapes that are actually “grenapes”—they “explode three seconds after being picked.” Apologetic, he brings roses (new to Amanita, but luckily they’ve got thorns). She demands rose seeds to grow more thorns, but instead receives nose seeds due to an ambiguously handwritten note. Humor and wordplay—grape + grenade = grenape; nose plants rather than rose plants—sit alongside the danger theme, never quite meshing. Theme notwithstanding, Amanita’s shown in peril only late in the story, and few pages feature an aesthetically threatening vibe. Not only do most of Amanita's dangerous things go without depiction, the garden, “filled with prickles and stickles and brambles and nettles,” shows many cactus spikes as blunt-tipped. Despite much texturing, Docampo’s bright colors and stylized, dominantly curving lines feel more slick than dangerous, though Amanita's scorpion-sting hairdo is nicely menacing.

Given that feisty, dirt-or-danger-loving princesses are almost a subgenre of princess books, don’t choose this one first. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3374-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life.

¡VAMOS! LET'S GO TO THE MARKET

From the ¡Vamos! series

Little Lobo and his dog, Bernabé, journey through a Mexican mercado delivering diverse goods to a variety of booths.

With the aid of red words splattered throughout the spreads as labels, Raúl the Third gives an introduction to Spanish vocabulary as Little Lobo, an anthropomorphic wolf, leaves his house, fills his cart with objects from his warehouse, and delivers them to the market’s vendors. The journey also serves as a crash course in Mexican culture, as the images are packed with intertextual details such as food, traditional games, and characters, including Cantinflas, Frida Khalo, and Juan Gabriel. Readers acquainted with Raúl the Third’s characters from his Lowriders series with author Cathy Camper will appreciate cameos from familiar characters. As he makes his rounds, Little Lobo also collects different artifacts that people offer in exchange for his deliveries of shoe polish, clothespins, wood, tissue paper, paintbrushes, and a pair of golden laces. Although Raúl the Third departs from the ball-pen illustrations that he is known for, his depiction of creatures and critters peppering the borderland where his stories are set remains in his trademark style. The softer hues in the illustrations (chosen by colorist Bay) keep the busy compositions friendly, and the halftone patterns filling the illustrations create foregrounds and backgrounds reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein’s pointillism.

A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-55726-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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RAIN SCHOOL

It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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