A tidy showcase for Lo Monaco, with at least some potential for return visits.

THE SMALL WORLD OF PAPER TOYS

A cavalcade of diminutive, neatly designed pop-ups evokes toys of yesteryear.

Each of the 10 moderately antique playthings, which range from a gas station to a doll in a wheeled cradle, takes center stage in a minimally detailed setting printed on stiff paper stock and designed to open to a right angle. Some figures recur, such as a toy sailor who poses next to a sailboat and again on the trailer bed of a big truck, but mostly the tableaux stand alone: there’s an elephant on a wheeled platform, a firetruck, and a tractor hauling a sow dubbed “Stendahl” on a cart. Two loggers pull a saw back and forth a half inch or so in the only construction with a moving element. Along with sound effects, a child narrator seen just once and notable more for her enthusiasm than for natural language offers short scenarios—the sailor above is “an exceptional load!” for instance, and the “mechanical boat” sparks a planned outing: “On Thursday, I will go to the pond with mom and see it navigate.” The perspective pulls back for a capping bedroom scene featuring an open wardrobe and toys scattered on the floor. “What a mess. I took everything out to play! I’ll clean up my room tomorrow. Good night, my toys.”

A tidy showcase for Lo Monaco, with at least some potential for return visits. (Pop-up picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-3-89955-746-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Gestalten

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Fun, fun, fun all through the town!

THE HIPS ON THE DRAG QUEEN GO SWISH, SWISH, SWISH

This book’s gonna werk, werk, werk all through Pride Month and beyond.

Drag persona Lil Miss Hot Mess rewrites “The Wheels on the Bus” to create a fun, movement-filled, family-friendly celebration of drag. The text opens with the titular verse to establish the familiar song’s formulaic pattern: “The hips on the drag queen go SWISH, SWISH, SWISH… / ALL THROUGH THE TOWN!” Along the way, more and more drag queens join in the celebration. The unnamed queens proudly display a range of skin tones, sizes, and body modifications to create a diverse cast of realistic characters that could easily be spotted at a Pride event or on RuPaul’s Drag Race. The palette of both costumes and backgrounds is appropriately psychedelic, and there are plenty of jewels going “BLING, BLING, BLING.” Don’t tell the queens, but the flow is the book’s real star, because it encourages natural kinetic participation that will have groups of young readers giggling and miming along with the story. Libraries and bookshops hosting drag-queen storytimes will find this a popular choice, and those celebrating LGBTQ+ heritage will also find this a useful book for the pre-K crowd. Curious children unfamiliar with a drag queen may require a brief explanation, but the spectacle stands up just fine on its own platforms.

Fun, fun, fun all through the town! (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6765-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A lightweight fear-dispeller, without the gun violence that now makes Mercer Mayer’s There’s a Nightmare in My Closet (1968)...

MONSTERS AREN'T REAL

Beaten down by a ubiquitous chorus of denials (see title), a monster suffers an existential crisis.

Surrounded by emphatic claims that it doesn’t even exist, a monster sets out not only to prove the contrary, but to establish its scariness credentials too. Alas, neither blasting the world with graffiti and printed fliers nor rearing up menacingly over a baby in a carriage, children at the barre in a ballet class and other supposedly susceptible victims elicits any response. Juggling some cows attracts attention but not the terrified kind. But the monster’s final despairing surrender—“That’s it! It’s over! I give up! ... /  Monsters aren’t real (sniff)”—triggers an indignant denial of a different sort from a second, smaller but wilder-looking, creature. It takes the first in hand and leads it off, declaring “We’re two big, strong, scary monsters, and we’ll prove it.” In truth, it won’t escape even very young readers that neither is particularly scary-looking. Indeed, the protagonist-monster is depicted in the sparsely detailed cartoon illustrations as a furry, almost cuddly, bearlike hulk with light-blue spots, antlers and comically googly eyes, certain to provoke more giggles than screams.

A lightweight fear-dispeller, without the gun violence that now makes Mercer Mayer’s There’s a Nightmare in My Closet (1968) so discomfiting. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61067-073-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more