Cinderella joins Elizabeth in advocating for girl power.

READ REVIEW

CINDERELLA AND THE FURRY SLIPPERS

A feminist version of “Cinderella” to suit fans of Robert Munsch’s The Paper-Bag Princess (1980).

This tale begins like the traditional one, with Cinderella slaving away for her stepmother and two stepsisters. But when the day of the prince’s annual ball arrives, she takes matters into her own hands and phones a fairy-godmother service she sees advertised. (Indeed, all of Cinderella’s expectations and dreams are based on ads and magazine articles, a subtle message that most readers will probably miss.) But the fairy godmother who arrives with her animal helpers isn’t anything like what was pictured in the ad. And the dress and slippers and turnip coach the fairy godmother conjures aren’t standard either. Dashed expectations don’t end there, however, as Cinderella discovers when she wins the dance contest (despite a severe wardrobe malfunction) and a solo dance with the prince, who is definitely better in glossy pages than in person. Cinderella’s flight is in earnest, but it quickly becomes a flight to something rather than away: the Girls Only Job Fair gives Cinderella a new lease on life. Barbanègre’s digital illustrations feature bright pastels and a sort of Addams Family sensibility. While the scene inside the job fair features diverse women of all shapes, sizes, and colors, the rest of the book is largely white save for two brown-skinned dance contestants (and the green-skinned fairy godmother!).

Cinderella joins Elizabeth in advocating for girl power. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-91898-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tundra

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Eggs-quisitely excellent.

THE GOOD EGG

Being a good egg can be eggs-cruciatingly stressful.

This earnest counterpart to John and Oswald’s hilarious The Bad Seed (2017) opens with a direct address from an oval-shaped saint to readers: “Oh, hello! I was just rescuing this cat. Know why? Because I’m a good egg.” Just how good is this egg? “Verrrrrry good.” Without hesitation, the bespectacled egg offers to help others with carrying groceries, painting houses, and changing tires. The good egg even tries to “keep the peace” among the other 11 eggs in its dozen, who forgo their bedtime, eat sugary cereal, and break stuff. Rotten eggs indeed! When the pressure of being good proves too much, the beleaguered egg embarks on a journey of self-care. John embeds a seed of a great idea—finding a balance between personal and social responsibility—within a rip-roaring, touching narrative. Despite his sober narrator, the author’s sense of humor remains intact thanks to some clever (and punny) wordplay. Likewise, Oswald’s digitally composed, bright artwork pops with rib-tickling close-ups and character-building moments. Both text and art complement each other perfectly. Too long alone, the protagonist heads back to its rowdy family, imparting a slice of wisdom to readers: “I’ll be good to my fellow eggs while also being good to myself.” It’s an empowering moment made all the better when this good egg returns to find a rapturous welcome from the others.

Eggs-quisitely excellent. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-286600-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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