There’s no moral to this story, just irreverent fun.

THE CAKE

When a tiger wants to make a cake, he and his friends fight over its ingredients with humorous (if naughty) results.

Cartoon-style, vibrantly colored art complete with speech balloons introduces a dog that wants a bone cake, a bunny that wants a carrot cake, a teddy bear that wants a fish cake and a monkey that suggests a banana cake. Tiger insists on chocolate, but the others respond with disgust when he lists the necessary ingredients. “Well, what shall we make then?” the tiger reasonably asks. When the group suggests a “bone-banana-carrot-and-fish cake,” the tiger’s speech balloon adopts a pointy intensity, as its large script bellows, “NO WAY! That would be revolting!” Instead of talking things through, the group responds, “YOU’RE REVOLTING!” An all-out brawl ensues. The four animals fling their food choices at the tiger, and then the tiger threatens to eat them. It’s unsurprising that they scurry away, leaving the tiger all alone. When they return, they come bearing the chocolate cake that adorns the book’s jacket, and at first the tiger is pleased—but then instead of eating the cake together, the other animals hurl it at the tiger, leaving readers with a vision of it just about to land on his striped head.

There’s no moral to this story, just irreverent fun. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-877579-45-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here.

ONE LOVE

A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus.

Using only the refrain from the original (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!”), the reggae great’s daughter Cedella Marley sees this song as her “happy song” and adapts it for children. However, the adaptation robs it of life. After the opening lines, readers familiar with the original song (or the tourism advertisement for Jamaica) will be humming along only to be stopped by the bland lines that follow: “One love, what the flower gives the bee.” and then “One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree.” Brantley-Newton’s sunny illustrations perfectly reflect the saccharine quality of the text. Starting at the beginning of the day, readers see a little girl first in bed, under a photograph of Bob Marley, the sun streaming into her room, a bird at the window. Each spread is completely redundant—when the text is about family love, the illustration actually shows little hearts floating from her parents to the little girl. An image of a diverse group getting ready to plant a community garden, walking on top of a river accompanies the words “One love, like the river runs to the sea.”

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0224-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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PRINCESSES WEAR PANTS

This book wants to be feminist.

Princess Penelope Pineapple, illustrated as a white girl with dark hair and eyes, is the Amelia Bloomer of the Pineapple Kingdom. She has dresses, but she prefers to wear pants as she engages in myriad activities ranging from yoga to gardening, from piloting a plane to hosting a science fair. When it’s time for the Pineapple Ball, she imagines wearing a sparkly pants outfit, but she worries about Grand Lady Busyboots’ disapproval: “ ‘Pants have no place on a lady!’ she’d say. / ‘That’s how it has been, and that’s how it shall stay.’ ” In a moment of seeming dissonance between the text and art, Penny seems to resolve to wear pants, but then she shows up to the ball in a gown. This apparent contradiction is resolved when the family cat, Miss Fussywiggles, falls from the castle into the moat and Princess Penelope saves her—after stripping off her gown to reveal pink, flowered swimming trunks and a matching top. Impressed, Grand Lady Busyboots resolves that princesses can henceforth wear whatever they wish. While seeing a princess as savior rather than damsel in distress may still seem novel, it seems a stretch to cast pants-wearing as a broadly contested contemporary American feminist issue. Guthrie and Oppenheim’s unimaginative, singsong rhyme is matched in subtlety by Byrne’s bright illustrations.

Skip it . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2603-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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