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THE WOMAN WHO TURNED CHILDREN INTO BIRDS

A timeless message with modern meaning to spare.

Children and adults have wildly different reactions to a magical woman’s gift.

The rumors are true. In a small village, a woman named Nanty Solo arrives, claiming to be able to turn children into birds. The adults call it “balderdash” but warn their kids away from Nanty Solo anyway. Young Dorothy Carr (pale-skinned with dark hair) is the first to disobey and swoops “into the blue” as a swallow for a few minutes before turning back into a girl. As Nanty Solo whispers the words, “Go on. Be happy. Up you go,” more children become birds until the grown-ups tell Nanty Solo to leave. She agrees but asks, “But what on earth are you frightened of?” The grown-ups fly last of all and have a marvelous time as Nanty Solo leaves to visit more towns. With the cadence of a fable, the book revels in the deliciousness of language. Adults don’t merely dismiss the magic woman but call her work “claptrap, tommyrot, piffle, bunkum!” Lisssome mixed-media art expertly showcases children of various skin tones transforming and leaving the world behind; Nanty Solo has skin the color of the page. And if the lesson of overcoming fear and letting children soar may be missed by some, it has all the hallmarks of a book destined to become a family favorite for others. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A timeless message with modern meaning to spare. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1996-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick Studio

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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IZZY GIZMO AND THE INVENTION CONVENTION

From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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WOO HOO! YOU'RE DOING GREAT!

WOO-HOO! This is the perfect way to foster healthy self-esteem in little ones.

What’s better than a cheerleading chicken?

Are you ever blue, unsure, tired, or overworked? Do you ever feel lost or overwhelmed? This uplifting book, expressed in delightful, jaunty verse, explains how to lift your spirits pronto: What you need is a booster chicken telling you’re doing great even when you’re not so confident, as when you’re learning or practicing a new skill, for instance. Your feathered champion will be right there, encouraging you all the way, with a loud “WOO HOO!” that’ll keep you going and remove any doubt you’re super terrific. But what if your cheerful chick errs and doesn’t do what it set out to do? Don’t worry—your cheery chicken just needs a reminder that everyone makes mistakes. That alone is a pep talk, enhanced by the wisdom that making mistakes allows everyone to learn and demonstrate they did their best. So forgive yourself, chickens! But the best thing is…instead of relying on someone else—like a chicken—to strengthen your ego, say a generous daily “WOO HOO!” to yourself. This riotous book hits all the right notes and does so succinctly and hilariously. The energetic, comical illustrations, in Boynton’s signature style, will elicit giggles and go far to make the book’s important point. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

WOO-HOO! This is the perfect way to foster healthy self-esteem in little ones. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-316-48679-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023

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