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THE PRINCE AND THE PEE

Hap-pee-ly–ever-after reading fun.

Laugh-out-loud potty humor.

Gormley’s story mines fairy-tale tropes as well as toilet humor to deliver laughs. It opens with Prince Freddie on holiday, sunbathing and drinking lemonade. His talking horse, Sir Rushington, interrupts his vacation to tell the prince a dragon is laying siege to Castle Crumbly. After Freddie “gulp[s] down the very last drop of his lemonade,” they’re off! Alas, the horse’s “Up and down. Up and down. Up and down” trot, not to mention the bodies of water, a waterfall, and rain that Mould illustrates in his uproarious acrylic illustrations, soon make the armor-clad Freddie painfully aware of his full bladder. Repeated pit stops for him to relieve himself are interrupted by a terrifying ogre, a princess in a tower (“How very awkward,” sympathizes Sir Rushington), and a very long bathroom line formed by the Big Bad Wolf, Puss in Boots, and the Seven Dwarfs. (Adult female caregivers will note the irony that every single person in this line is implied male.) When they finally arrive at Castle Crumbly, Prince Freddie is so desperate that he plows right by the dragon, who sets the castle ablaze. Luckily, Prince Freddie eschews the throne room and stands atop a turret instead, well-positioned to douse the flames below: “And suddenly there was an almighty sizzle.” Freddie and all other humanoids save the green ogre are white.

Hap-pee-ly–ever-after reading fun. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: June 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9916-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nosy Crow

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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CINDERELLA

From the Once Upon a World series

A nice but not requisite purchase.

A retelling of the classic fairy tale in board-book format and with a Mexican setting.

Though simplified for a younger audience, the text still relates the well-known tale: mean-spirited stepmother, spoiled stepsisters, overworked Cinderella, fairy godmother, glass slipper, charming prince, and, of course, happily-ever-after. What gives this book its flavor is the artwork. Within its Mexican setting, the characters are olive-skinned and dark-haired. Cultural references abound, as when a messenger comes carrying a banner announcing a “FIESTA” in beautiful papel picado. Cinderella is the picture of beauty, with her hair up in ribbons and flowers and her typically Mexican many-layered white dress. The companion volume, Snow White, set in Japan and illustrated by Misa Saburi, follows the same format. The simplified text tells the story of the beautiful princess sent to the forest by her wicked stepmother to be “done away with,” the dwarves that take her in, and, eventually, the happily-ever-after ending. Here too, what gives the book its flavor is the artwork. The characters wear traditional clothing, and the dwarves’ house has the requisite shoji screens, tatami mats and cherry blossoms in the garden. The puzzling question is, why the board-book presentation? Though the text is simplified, it’s still beyond the board-book audience, and the illustrations deserve full-size books.

A nice but not requisite purchase. (Board book/fairy tale. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7915-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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