Readers will want to reread the simple but meaningful text and bask again in the glorious illustrations of this splendid...

OUTSIDE

A little boy’s imagination creates a beautiful, mysterious, snowy world outside his home.

Expressive oils on paper are equally adept at showing the snow’s softness and a little boy’s changing moods. The wraparound cover art immediately draws readers in, and the quotation from Yeats opposite the dedication sets the tone: “The world is full of magic things, / patiently waiting / for our senses to grow sharper.” The first double-page spread shows an isolated, wooden house in steadily falling snow with these words: “Outside, snow falls silently on the house.” The next two pages illustrate the sentence, “Inside, a boy has nothing to do.” When the boy goes outside, his mood begins to lift, despite his disappointment at an older brother’s refusal to join him. By the end of the boy’s time outside, an enchanting, magical world of castles and snow creatures has elevated his spirits—and will have a similar effect on readers. The palette moves through the colors of a perfect winter’s day in New England, from the blue-grays of falling snow to the golden-pink tones of sunset—ideal colors for the boy’s dragon ride—to the deeper blues of approaching evening. The double-page spread that introduces the dragon is especially enthralling.

Readers will want to reread the simple but meaningful text and bask again in the glorious illustrations of this splendid debut. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-547-91065-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

PERFECTLY NORMAN

From the Big Bright Feelings series

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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