Cookery and chivalry mix together well in this cream puff of a tale.

READ REVIEW

DOUGH KNIGHTS AND DRAGONS

It’s The Great British Baking Show: Medieval Edition!

Had Kenneth Grahame’s Reluctant Dragon learned the fine art of patisserie, perhaps his tale would have echoed the one readers find here. A redheaded white knight on the hunt for fresh herbs finds himself at the mouth of a cave filled with mysterious ingredients. His desire to try them in a stew awakens a curious resident dragon that finds the soup delish. An instant, forbidden friendship is formed, for in this land every knight must slay a dragon and every dragon must eat a knight. The friends puzzle over the law, concocting delicious dainties in the meantime. In the end, they cook up a tasty solution involving oddly shaped doughnuts and legal semantics. The peppy digital art keeps the action hopping and the tasty treats tempting. Extra points for a map of the land that was clearly a labor of love. The rhyming text is ultimately unnecessary, but no bumps can be found in the scansion. The ending in which all xenophobic differences are overcome with the wonders of food is certainly weighted on the cockeyed-optimist side of the equation, but it’s hard to fault a book with a dragon-and-knight food fight at its close.

Cookery and chivalry mix together well in this cream puff of a tale. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2141-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love.

THE LOVE LETTER

A mysterious love letter brightens the lives of three forest animals.

Appealing mixed-media illustrations made of ink, gouache, brush marker, and colored pencil combine with a timely message that one kind act can start a chain reaction of kindness. When Hedgehog, Bunny, and Squirrel stumble in turn upon a formally composed love letter, each finds their life improved: Squirrel is less anxious, Bunny spreads goodwill through helpfulness, and Hedgehog is unusually cheerful. As the friends converge to try to discover who sent the letter, the real author appears in a (rather) convenient turn: a mouse who wrote an ode to the moon. Though disappointed that the letter was never meant for them, the friends reflect that the letter still made the world a happier place, making it a “wonderful mix-up.” Since there’s a lot of plot to follow, the book will best serve more-observant readers who are able to piece the narrative cleanly, but those older readers may also better appreciate the special little touches, such as the letter’s enticing, old-fashioned typewriter-style look, vignettes that capture small moments, or the subdued color palette that lends an elegant air. Drawn with minimalist, scribbly lines, the creatures achieve an invigorating balance between charming and spontaneous, with smudged lines that hint at layers of fur and simple, dotted facial expressions.

A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-274157-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more