While it’s a less-than-perfect offering, preschoolers who crave gimmicks to manipulate will enjoy giving this one a whirl,...

PRESTO CHANGE-O

A BOOK OF ANIMAL MAGIC

Through the twist of paperboard flaps, objects are transformed.

The action is on the right-hand pages. A man’s top hat reveals a bird hiding underneath; a salad bowl flips upside down to become a turtle. Across the spread, rhyming couplets describe the transformation. The majority of these paper-engineering magic tricks will enchant children, but some of these metamorphoses feel a bit forced; the clock that morphs into an owl requires the twisting of seven separate flaps and does not end up looking much like the nocturnal bird. Manceau’s flat, Lois Ehlert–like graphics in a dark and highly saturated palette are eye-catching, although the almost entirely black rocket/penguin is too dark against a navy blue background. The poetry is also uneven, including some delightful lines mixed in with forced analogies and lines that don’t scan. The final two pages provide before-and-after pictures of each switch as a helpful guide. The back of this board book bears a large choking-hazard warning for children under 3, but since the verse is sophisticated and the manipulations require more dexterity than the average toddler possesses, the package is more appropriate for older kiddos anyway.

While it’s a less-than-perfect offering, preschoolers who crave gimmicks to manipulate will enjoy giving this one a whirl, literally. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-2-8480-1944-4

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Superheroes, and readers, will live happily-ever-after.

THE THREE LITTLE SUPERPIGS AND THE GINGERBREAD MAN

Why have fairy tales lasted so long? Maybe it’s because they change with every teller.

It takes surprisingly little effort to turn the Three Little Pigs into superheroes. The Big Bad Wolf basically started out as a supervillain, with the ability to blow a house down, and the pigs had to perform spectacular feats to outwit him. In this picture book, the wolf, locked in the Happily Never After tower, devises a plot to escape. Using rotten eggs and spicy ginger, he creates the Gingerbread Man, who makes his way to a baking contest where the three pigs and other fairy-tale characters are competing to win the key to the city. The Gingerbread Man grabs the key, and not even superhero pigs are fast enough to catch him, but with their secret weapon—mustard (which one of the pigs also uses to bake cookies)—they save the day. The morals: Evil never triumphs, and mustard cookies are delicious. The book’s charm is in the details. There are splotches of mustard on the cookies featured on the endpapers, and a sly-looking mouse is hiding on many of the pages. The story even manages to include more than a dozen fairy-tale figures without seeming frenzied. Evans’ use of shading is so skillful that it almost seems possible to reach out and touch the characters. Most of the human characters are light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Superheroes, and readers, will live happily-ever-after. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-68221-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more