Whether on the fairy-tale shelf or the Halloween one, this notably nondiverse book may tickle readers with similar...

FAIRY TALE FRANKIE AND THE TRICKY WITCH

A white girl who really loves fairy tales is surprised one day when a bunch of fairy-tale characters visit her home and ask Frankie to hide them from the witch.

A white fairy-tale princess is first, stepping through Frankie’s bedroom window in a sparkly blue ball gown. She is hidden under the bed, while the unicorn that follows is pushed into the wardrobe. The white mermaid in the bathtub? The shower curtain hides her nicely, and the clanking, suntanned white knight in armor fits in well amid the pots and pans under the kitchen sink. A frog hides in the corn flakes box, and the white king, lampshade over his head, makes a regal lamp in the hallway. But who will hide Frankie from the witch? The girl bravely stands up to the green-faced, pointy-nosed witch, but the magic broom finds all the fairy-tale characters in short order. “Whose turn is it now?” Wait, what? Yep, this is a game of hide-and-seek, and Frankie is now it. Lenton’s illustrations combine soft shades with pops of brighter colors, and there are humorous details on every page, especially the page where Frankie finds the frog, her mouth and eyebrows showing her displeasure with the amphibian lounging in her cereal bowl, one front leg supporting his head and his back legs jauntily crossed.

Whether on the fairy-tale shelf or the Halloween one, this notably nondiverse book may tickle readers with similar interests, though perhaps only once. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6625-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Mixed-race children certainly deserve mirror books, but they also deserve excellent text and illustrations. This one misses...

BEAUTIFUL, WONDERFUL, STRONG LITTLE ME!

This tan-skinned, freckle-faced narrator extols her own virtues while describing the challenges of being of mixed race.

Protagonist Lilly appears on the cover, and her voluminous curly, twirly hair fills the image. Throughout the rhyming narrative, accompanied by cartoonish digital illustrations, Lilly brags on her dark skin (that isn’t very), “frizzy, wild” hair, eyebrows, intellect, and more. Her five friends present black, Asian, white (one blonde, one redheaded), and brown (this last uses a wheelchair). This array smacks of tokenism, since the protagonist focuses only on self-promotion, leaving no room for the friends’ character development. Lilly describes how hurtful racial microaggressions can be by recalling questions others ask her like “What are you?” She remains resilient and says that even though her skin and hair make her different, “the way that I look / Is not all I’m about.” But she spends so much time talking about her appearance that this may be hard for readers to believe. The rhyming verse that conveys her self-celebration is often clumsy and forced, resulting in a poorly written, plotless story for which the internal illustrations fall far short of the quality of the cover image.

Mixed-race children certainly deserve mirror books, but they also deserve excellent text and illustrations. This one misses the mark on both counts. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63233-170-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eifrig

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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THE LAST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Loewen’s story is a simple snapshot of kindergarten graduation day, and it stays true to form, with Yoshikawa’s artwork resembling photos that might be placed in an album—and the illustrations cheer, a mixed media of saturated color, remarkable depth and joyful expression. The author comfortably captures the hesitations of making the jump from kindergarten to first grade without making a fuss about it, and she makes the prospect something worth the effort. Trepidation aside, this is a reminder of how much fun kindergarten was: your own cubbyhole, the Halloween parade, losing a tooth, “the last time we’ll ever sit criss-cross applesauce together.” But there is also the fledgling’s pleasure at shucking off the past—swabbing the desks, tossing out the stubbiest crayons, taking the pictures off the wall—and surging into the future. Then there is graduation itself: donning the mortarboards, trooping into the auditorium—“Mr. Meyer starts playing a serious song on the piano. It makes me want to cry. It makes me want to march”—which will likely have a few adult readers feeling the same. (Picture book. 4-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7614-5807-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2011

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