SLEEPING BUNNY

Another retold fairy tale from the illustrator of Bunny and the Beast (2001), this time in collaboration with her daughter, finds Sleeping Beauty with a mostly bunny cast—that is, except for the fairies, who are pigs with wings, and a few other beasts who are courtiers. Keller tells the classic tale with wry and sly humor. At the beginning, the rabbit king and queen long for what is missing in their lives: “a baby bunny (which was highly unusual in their family!)” At the very end, the bad fairy Mildew, the rat whose spinning wheel offers the paw prick, presents Bunny and her Prince with eight golden dishes, so she won’t make the same mistake as her parents in leaving a fairy out, and “everyone lived hoppily ever after.” Silin-Palmer designs fabric and ceramics among other things, and has clearly studied the work of Dutch flower painter Jan van Huysum: her dark backgrounds and gorgeous, naturalistic flowers bedeck every image. Roses and butterflies, sunflowers and foxglove glow from the pages. Princess Bunny and her family wear more-or-less medieval royal garb that has a shimmer of its own. Really fun, if rather silly. (Picture book/fairy tale. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2003

ISBN: 0-375-91541-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2002

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UNICORN WINGS

The can’t-miss subject of this Step into Reading series entry—a unicorn with a magic horn who also longs for wings—trumps its text, which is dry even by easy-reader standards. A boy unicorn, whose horn has healing powers, reveals his wish to a butterfly in a castle garden, a bluebird in the forest and a snowy white swan in a pond. Falling asleep at the edge of the sea, the unicorn is visited by a winged white mare. He heals her broken wing and she flies away. After sadly invoking his wish once more, he sees his reflection: “He had big white wings!” He flies off after the mare, because he “wanted to say, ‘Thank you.’ ” Perfectly suiting this confection, Silin-Palmer’s pictures teem with the mass market–fueled iconography of what little girls are (ostensibly) made of: rainbows, flowers, twinkly stars and, of course, manes down to there. (Easy reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2006

ISBN: 0-375-83117-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2006

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THE BEST CHEF IN SECOND GRADE

An impending school visit by a celebrity chef sends budding cook Ollie into a tailspin. He and his classmates are supposed to bring a favorite family food for show and tell, but his family doesn’t have a clear choice—besides, his little sister Rosy doesn’t like much of anything. What to do? As in their previous two visits to Room 75, Kenah builds suspense while keeping the tone light, and Carter adds both bright notes of color and familiar home and school settings in her cartoon illustrations. Eventually, Ollie winkles favorite ingredients out of his clan, which he combines into a mac-and-cheese casserole with a face on top that draws delighted praise from the class’s renowned guest. As Ollie seems to do his kitchen work without parental assistance, a cautionary tip or two (and maybe a recipe) might not have gone amiss here, but the episode’s mouthwatering climax and resolution will guarantee smiles of contentment all around. (Easy reader. 6-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-053561-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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