Visually and textually poetic, this contemplative story continues to grow through repeated visits.

THE DAY THE RAIN MOVED IN

What do you do when it starts raining inside your house?

Uninvited, the rain moves inside the house. Huddled and wet, Pauline and Louis watch the rain fall. Their family tries to stop the rain, but nothing works. Outside in the sunshine, the children go to school, hiding their secret from their joyful classmates. Back at home, a seedling sprouts through the kitchen floor. Soon the house is bursting with plants and animals. The siblings watch as their father opens the door to their curious classmates, who marvel at the “unlikely new playground” inside their house. Eventually, the life inside outgrows the house itself, with sky-reaching branches shooting through the walls and roof. Finally, the rain stops, and sunlight fills the transformed house. Translated from French, the sparse, poetic text is at once specific and open to interpretation. This quietly resilient story, a subtle metaphor for experiencing and processing grief, depression, or trauma, invites reading and rereading as small visual and textual elements are discovered and examined. The relationship between inside and outside hinted at in the text is compellingly explored in the illustrations. Colorful accents create balance and focus against the sparse neutral brown and gray backgrounds of the house’s interior and the desertlike outside world. Pauline and Louis, along with the rest of their family, have straight black hair and rosy-tan skin. The schoolchildren are diverse in appearance. (This book was reviewed digitally with 7.5-by-20.8-inch double-page spreads viewed at 89% of actual size.)

Visually and textually poetic, this contemplative story continues to grow through repeated visits. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77306-481-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

WHAT THE ROAD SAID

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

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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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