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From the The Ogglies series

Refreshingly odd and oddly refreshing.

A party’s the perfect way to drag a dragon out of the dumps.

In the dirt-covered trash dump of Smelliville live the Ogglies, friendly green folk with big lumpy noses and a love of mud and muck. They work hard all day on various gadgets and necessary chores. The Oggly twins want to go on an outing with their pet dragon, Firebottom, but notice that he’s just lying listlessly in his wooden house. Various remedies are tried—a good rubdown with brown ooze, a pair of stinky socks—but none succeeds. One of the Oggly twins says that Firebottom needs some friends. That seems like a good idea to all, so they decide to throw a birthday party (even though it’s not his birthday). Dragon guests start flying in, brought by Batty, a red-nosed bat with a slightly daffy expression. There’s Rocky Red, who has golden spikes all down his back, and Blinky Blue, with a polka-dot, segmented body. Leah Fang, a Chinese dragon with a snake on her head, delights Firebottom with a hot kiss on the nose. Games, freaky food, and a flying competition make for an exciting day and lift Firebottom’s spirits. Dietl’s quirky imagination seems to know no bounds, in both text and pictures; there’s even a birthday song on the last page. The lengthy text is printed in relatively small type, but the ebullience of the story should keep elementary-age listeners’ attention.

Refreshingly odd and oddly refreshing. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-76036-025-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Starfish Bay

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

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 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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From the The Kingdom of Wrenly series , Vol. 1

A gentle adventure that sets the stage for future quests.

A lonely prince gains a friend for a quest to find a missing jewel.

Prince Lucas of Wrenly has everything a boy could possibly want—except a friend. His father has forbidden him to play with the village children for reasons of propriety. Adventure-seeking Lucas acquires peasant clothes to masquerade as a commoner and make friends, but he is caught out. His mother, the queen, persuades the king to allow him one friend: Clara, the daughter of her personal dressmaker. When the queen’s prized emerald pendant goes missing, Lucas and Clara set off to find it. They follow the jewel as it changes hands, interviewing each temporary owner. Their adventure cleverly introduces the series’ world and peoples, taking the children to the fairy island of Primlox, the trolls’ home of Burth, the wizard island of Hobsgrove and finally Mermaid’s Cove. By befriending the mermaids, Lucas and Clara finally recover the jewel. In thanks, the king gives Clara a horse of her own so that she may ride with Lucas on their future adventures. The third-person narration is generally unobtrusive, allowing the characters to take center stage. The charming, medieval-flavored illustrations set the fairy-tale scene and take up enough page space that new and reluctant readers won’t be overwhelmed by text.

 A gentle adventure that sets the stage for future quests. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-9691-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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