This original fairy tale succeeds as a fable, if not quite so well as a story.

THE MOON DRAGONS

When a selfish, self-important king hears a story from a traveler about ancient, singing dragons and is told they may not all be gone, the king announces that he must have one.

He promises a room full of gold to any who will bring him a dragon. No one can, and the king is furious. A girl named Alina, who lives alone, remembers her grandmother’s stories and songs and vows to find the dragons. King and townspeople ridicule her, but she perseveres and, after an arduous quest, finds the beauteous dragons and their song. She knows, however, what the king will do if she reveals the dragons to him, so she submits to further mockery when she returns and says she could not find them. She keeps to herself a silver dragon scale to hold the memory. The full-spread, full-bleed acrylic-on-board paintings are rich in texture, and Alina’s wild red hair glows like the dragons should. The dragons themselves are more winged dinosaur than fae, however, and don’t really conjure creatures that sing and dance. Although the story is a bit truncated and does not flow smoothly, its sweet lesson of the value of art and life over a room full of gold is a lovely one.

This original fairy tale succeeds as a fable, if not quite so well as a story. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4677-6314-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Andersen Press USA

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area.

RED AND LULU

A pair of cardinals is separated and then reunited when their tree home is moved to New York City to serve as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

The male cardinal, Red, and his female partner, Lulu, enjoy their home in a huge evergreen tree located in the front yard of a small house in a pleasant neighborhood. When the tree is cut down and hauled away on a truck, Lulu is still inside the tree. Red follows the truck into the city but loses sight of it and gets lost. The birds are reunited when Red finds the tree transformed with colored lights and serving as the Christmas tree in a complex of city buildings. When the tree is removed after Christmas, the birds find a new home in a nearby park. Each following Christmas, the pair visit the new tree erected in the same location. Attractive illustrations effectively handle some difficult challenges of dimension and perspective and create a glowing, magical atmosphere for the snowy Christmas trees. The original owners of the tree are a multiracial family with two children; the father is African-American and the mother is white. The family is in the background in the early pages, reappearing again skating on the rink at Rockefeller Center with their tree in the background.

A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7733-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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Action, clever humor, delightful illustrations and expectation-defying secret identities—when does the next one come out?

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THE PRINCESS IN BLACK

From the Princess in Black series , Vol. 1

Perfect Princess Magnolia has a secret—her alter ego is the Princess in Black, a superhero figure who protects the kingdom!

When nosy Duchess Wigtower unexpectedly drops by Princess Magnolia’s castle, Magnolia must protect her secret identity from the duchess’s prying. But then Magnolia’s monster alarm, a glitter-stone ring, goes off. She must save the day, leaving the duchess unattended in her castle. After a costume change, the Princess in Black joins her steed, Blacky (public identity: Frimplepants the unicorn), to protect Duff the goat boy and his goats from a shaggy, blue, goat-eating monster. When the monster refuses to see reason, Magnolia fights him, using special moves like the “Sparkle Slam” and the “Twinkle Twinkle Little Smash.” The rounded, cartoony illustrations featuring chubby characters keep the fight sequence soft and comical. Watching the fight, Duff notices suspicious similarities between the Princess in Black and Magnolia—quickly dismissed as “a silly idea”—much like the duchess’s dismissal of some discovered black stockings as being simply dirty, as “princesses don’t wear black.” The gently ironic text will amuse readers (including adults reading the book aloud). The large print and illustrations expand the book to a longish-yet-manageable length, giving newly independent readers a sense of accomplishment. The ending hints at another hero, the Goat Avenger.

Action, clever humor, delightful illustrations and expectation-defying secret identities—when does the next one come out? (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6510-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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