A lively sequel offers a sure-handed blend of fantasy, humor, adventure, and an ingenious heroine.


Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage

From the Amelia's Amazing Space Adventures series , Vol. 2

In this second installment of a space-travel fantasy series for young readers, a little girl and her purple alien pal visit Venus.

At the end of the first book in Amelia’s Amazing Space Adventures chapter-book series, the 8-year-old title character returns from a trip to the moon with her new friend Uglesnoo, a three-armed visitor from Pluto. The two are working their way through the solar system (one planet per volume, it seems) to locate items necessary to save Uglesnoo’s sister from an “endless sleep” and to find an antidote for the rafter-raising snores of Amelia’s sibling. Next stop: Venus, to collect “20 Bliss Bubbles” in exchange for 10 boxes of “Moo-Bon” candy, acquired from the Moochin moon dwellers as a reward for helping them reclaim their underwater Sapphire Palace. Venus is home to catlike “Venutons,” who breathe out silver “bliss bubbles” while sleeping. (These can be cut and knotted at the ends like balloons. The deeper the sleep, the larger the bubbles.) Awakened, the Venutons make it clear that bliss bubble collectors are not welcome. After betrayal by cave-dwelling rabbit creatures, imprisonment in a rolling golden cage shaped like a giant ball of yarn, and a tussle aboard Uglesnoo’s spaceship with one last vengeful Venuton, the pair escapes thanks to Amelia’s quick thinking. Dispensing with the realities of planetary science, Blanchard (Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace, 2014) has fun with her imaginary solar system and its inhabitants. Readers should, too. But as wacky as things get (chocolate rain from an “Interspecies Feeder”), Blanchard also delivers thoughtful balance (“The stars scattered like spilled sugar in the inky darkness”). She grounds her plot, too, in Amelia’s relatable moments of uncertainty and her ability to use her head to solve dilemmas as well as in helpful reminders of the escapade’s central purpose: curing Uglesnoo’s sister. Motz’s full-bleed, cartoon-style illustrations, mixed with variously colored text-only pages, reflect the book’s offbeat appeal.

A lively sequel offers a sure-handed blend of fantasy, humor, adventure, and an ingenious heroine.

Pub Date: March 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5236-3671-6

Page Count: 62

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2016

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Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.


From the There’s a…in Your Book series

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Unhei has just left her Korean homeland and come to America with her parents. As she rides the school bus toward her first day of school, she remembers the farewell at the airport in Korea and examines the treasured gift her grandmother gave her: a small red pouch containing a wooden block on which Unhei’s name is carved. Unhei is ashamed when the children on the bus find her name difficult to pronounce and ridicule it. Lesson learned, she declines to tell her name to anyone else and instead offers, “Um, I haven’t picked one yet. But I’ll let you know next week.” Her classmates write suggested names on slips of paper and place them in a jar. One student, Joey, takes a particular liking to Unhei and sees the beauty in her special stamp. When the day arrives for Unhei to announce her chosen name, she discovers how much Joey has helped. Choi (Earthquake, see below, etc.) draws from her own experience, interweaving several issues into this touching account and delicately addressing the challenges of assimilation. The paintings are done in creamy, earth-tone oils and augment the story nicely. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 10, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80613-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

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