A rich and resonant tall tale that celebrates imagination even as it underscores enduring truths.

KIMMY & MIKE

A picture-book tall tale of derring-do from Newfoundland and Labrador that continues a centuries-old tradition of recitation.

Brothers Kimmy and Mike are charged by their mother to take their punt to fish for “something for the pot!” But no fish are to be had at their usual spot, and the boys decide to “scull ’er…’cross the pond”—not wishing to face their mother’s admonishment. As the rhyming tall tale continues gleefully, the brothers encounter a merman called Saul who longs for Nepal, tackle pirates off the coast of Somalia (depicted as old-fashioned European ones), and dig their way through the Panama Canal (“We are closed; please come back again”), among many other adventures. The story, which must be read aloud for full effect, continues a tradition that began in the isolated fishing communities of Newfoundland and Labrador, as an afterword notes, when the scant leisure time was often spent making up stories to entertain family and neighbors. While the physical reality of the tale is one of happy exaggeration, the emotional reality—two tough boys abashed by their more-than-capable mother—is an endearing truth. The illustrations have a folk-art look, which both complements and compliments the recitation tradition, and, in the way of outsider art, have the knack of looking simple while actually being visually sophisticated. The merman has brown skin and orange hair while Kimmy, Mike, and their mom present White.

A rich and resonant tall tale that celebrates imagination even as it underscores enduring truths. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: April 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-927917-39-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Running the Goat

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after.

RISE OF THE EARTH DRAGON

From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

Drake has been selected by the king to serve as a Dragon Master, quite a change for an 8-year-old farmer boy.

The dragons are a secret, and the reason King Roland has them is a mystery, but what is clear is that the Dragon Stone has identified Drake as one of the rare few children who have a special connection with dragons and the ability to serve as a trainer. Drake’s dragon is a long brown creature with, at first, no particular talents that Drake can identify. He calls the dragon Worm. It isn’t long before Drake begins to realize he has a very strong connection with Worm and can share what seem to be his dragon’s thoughts. After one of the other Dragon Masters decides to illicitly take the dragons outside, disaster strikes. The cave they are passing through collapses, blocking the passageway, and then Worm’s special talent becomes evident. The first of a new series of early chapter books, this entry is sure to attract fans. Brief chapters, large print, lots of action, attractive illustrations in every spread, including a maplike panorama, an enviable protagonist—who wouldn’t want to be a Dragon Master?—all combine to make an entertaining read.

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64624-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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Action, clever humor, delightful illustrations and expectation-defying secret identities—when does the next one come out?

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THE PRINCESS IN BLACK

From the Princess in Black series , Vol. 1

Perfect Princess Magnolia has a secret—her alter ego is the Princess in Black, a superhero figure who protects the kingdom!

When nosy Duchess Wigtower unexpectedly drops by Princess Magnolia’s castle, Magnolia must protect her secret identity from the duchess’s prying. But then Magnolia’s monster alarm, a glitter-stone ring, goes off. She must save the day, leaving the duchess unattended in her castle. After a costume change, the Princess in Black joins her steed, Blacky (public identity: Frimplepants the unicorn), to protect Duff the goat boy and his goats from a shaggy, blue, goat-eating monster. When the monster refuses to see reason, Magnolia fights him, using special moves like the “Sparkle Slam” and the “Twinkle Twinkle Little Smash.” The rounded, cartoony illustrations featuring chubby characters keep the fight sequence soft and comical. Watching the fight, Duff notices suspicious similarities between the Princess in Black and Magnolia—quickly dismissed as “a silly idea”—much like the duchess’s dismissal of some discovered black stockings as being simply dirty, as “princesses don’t wear black.” The gently ironic text will amuse readers (including adults reading the book aloud). The large print and illustrations expand the book to a longish-yet-manageable length, giving newly independent readers a sense of accomplishment. The ending hints at another hero, the Goat Avenger.

Action, clever humor, delightful illustrations and expectation-defying secret identities—when does the next one come out? (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6510-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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