Next book

GARBAGE GULLS

Lyrical, absurd, and full of wonder.

Two kids tempt gulls in a contemplative exploration of a hot summer day.

Hiding from the sun in an abandoned car in a parking lot next to the Sea Hotel, two youngsters hatch a plan. Contending with boredom on an endless day and the sticky heat, they decide to surround the car with French fries to attract sea gulls. They “salt The Sea” with littered fries and spread globs of strategically placed ketchup (“The garbage gulls can be picky,” after all). Then they wait, quietly listening for impending wings. “A few crunched bags summon squawks,” and suddenly the air is filled with gulls. “Our constellation of crumbs gathers beasts of the streets.” The flapping cacophony suddenly lifts the car and takes it to the beach! The Sea Hotel becomes the sea itself, and the youngsters’ imaginations take flight. With curved edges and rusted orange tones, Fassler’s art melts in the heat, while Plourde’s languid text both lulls and delights. The book is a dazzling debut for this author/illustrator duo. While the wonderfully surreal tale may perplex very young or more literal-minded readers (although they may be most in need of its charms), it’s a beautiful meditation that slips the audience directly into one sticky, summer moment in time. Both kids present white.

Lyrical, absurd, and full of wonder. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 4, 2024

ISBN: 9781525307089

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

Next book

THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2022


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • Caldecott Honor

Next book

KNIGHT OWL

A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2022


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • Caldecott Honor

A young owl achieves his grand ambition.

Owl, an adorably earnest and gallant little owlet, dreams of being a knight. He imagines himself defeating dragons and winning favor far and wide through his brave exploits. When a record number of knights go missing, Owl applies to Knight School and is surprisingly accepted. He is much smaller than the other knights-in-training, struggles to wield weapons, and has “a habit of nodding off during the day.” Nevertheless, he graduates and is assigned to the Knight Night Watch. While patrolling the castle walls one night, a hungry dragon shows up and Owl must use his wits to avoid meeting a terrible end. The result is both humorous and heartwarming, offering an affirmation of courage and clear thinking no matter one’s size…and demonstrating the power of a midnight snack. The story never directly addresses the question of the missing knights, but it is hinted that they became the dragon’s fodder, leaving readers to question Owl’s decision to befriend the beast. Humor is supplied by the characters’ facial expressions and accented by the fact that Owl is the only animal in his order of big, burly human knights. Denise’s accomplished digital illustrations—many of which are full bleeds—often use a warm sepia palette that evokes a feeling of antiquity, and some spreads feature a pleasing play of chiaroscuro that creates suspense and drama.

A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-31062-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

Close Quickview