A playful albeit lightweight tribute to small things that make a big difference.

POPPY, BUTTERCUP, BLUEBELL, AND DANDY

An enthusiastic flower fairy rallies her friends in a grass-roots effort to spread flower-power through a bleak city.

Poppy and her friends Dandy, Bluebell, and Buttercup live on a hilltop, “spreading sunshine” everywhere they ride on their skateboards and scooter. One morning, Poppy wakes with a “strange tingling feeling” causing her to lead the Blooms into the city, where they spy a sign announcing the closure of the city’s last park. Poppy’s determined to save the park—but where is it? When efforts to see the park from atop a building fail, the Blooms fly downward on skateboards, landing unceremoniously in a soft, smelly dump. Speeding through alleys and side streets, dodging cars, and scaling buildings, they finally hitch aerial transport into the decrepit park, where they get to work. Back home on their hilltop, the Blooms happily see “just how far their magic had spread.” Drawn in caricaturelike black outlines with paper-white faces and wearing petal dresses and headgear in hues and shapes matching their flower namesakes, the whimsical Blooms visually stand out as powerful pops of color, humor, and positivity against the vague, dismal black, white, and gray backgrounds of a colorless, impersonal, and lifeless city, which eventually emerges transformed by overlaid circles of translucent color.

A playful albeit lightweight tribute to small things that make a big difference. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6967-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids.

SADIE SPROCKET BUILDS A ROCKET

A little girl’s imaginative plan to become an astronaut and be the first to travel to Mars really takes off.

Together with a crew of stuffed animals (owl, rabbit, and teddy bear), Sadie Sprocket does her research, gathers materials to build her spaceship, and, with support from family and friends—and media coverage—embarks on her historic journey. Rhyming quatrains tell the story of how Sadie patiently reads, cooks, and records important data during the 100-day interplanetary journey. And then: “The Earth behind, so far away, / was now a tiny dot. / Then Sadie cried, ‘There’s planet Mars! / It’s smaller than I thought!’ ” After landing and gathering 20 bags of samples, Sadie and crew are stuck in a red sandstorm while trying to take off again. But with Sadie’s determination and can-do spirit, they blast off, safely returning to Earth with future heroic space-exploration ideas in mind. Spiky cartoons transform a child’s playroom into an outer-space venue, complete with twinkling stars and colorful planets. Sadie presents White while her encouraging fans feature more diversity. An addendum includes brief facts about Mars and a handful of women space scientists. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1803-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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