While Andersen’s imaginative story, first published in 1835, keeps children listening or reading, this edition adds nothing...

READ REVIEW

THUMBELINA

The adventures of a tiny girl amid flora and fauna in an imaginary land are again presented for young readers.

The text is acceptably adapted and accessible, but the illustrations, thickly textured and deeply colored, are leaden and rely on fashion rather than magic for their distinctiveness. The illustrator veers back and forth distractingly in her depiction of clothing, from the traditional 19th-century peasant dress with apron and kerchief of the field mouse to the 1920s look of the three female June bugs (cockchafers in some versions) who declare Thumbelina’s utter unsuitability as a mate for the big June bug who tries to capture her. The ugly toad who first steals her from her walnut-shell bed for her own son (shown in denim overalls) wears a frumpy pink polka-dot dress of no particular vintage. The haughty mole who wants to marry the girl wears a red fez and a fur-trimmed jacket to portray his wealth. Thumbelina wears simple white dresses, symbolizing her purity, but there is a lack of the magical lightness necessary to the tale. Even the double-page spread of the wedding scene when Thumbelina, with her large, Margaret Keane–like eyes, finally finds a suitable mate of just the right height, seems heavy and contrived.

While Andersen’s imaginative story, first published in 1835, keeps children listening or reading, this edition adds nothing new or special to a long literary history. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-927018-73-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simply Read

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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In contrast to the carbs and desserts pictured, though sweet, this is unlikely to stick with readers.

BAGEL IN LOVE

A romance for carb (and pun!) lovers who dance to their own drummers and don’t give up on their dreams.

Bagel is a guy who loves to dance; when he’s tapping and twirling, he doesn’t feel plain. The problem is, he can’t find a partner for the Cherry Jubilee Dance Contest. Poppy says his steps are half-baked. Pretzel, “who was at the spa getting a salt rub…told him his moves didn’t cut the mustard.” He strikes out in Sweet City, too, with Croissant, Doughnut, and Cake. But just when he’s given up, he hears the music from the contest and can’t help moving his feet. And an echoing tap comes back to him. Could it be a partner at last? Yep, and she just happens to smell sweet and have frosting piled high. Bagel and Cupcake crush the contest, but winning the trophy? That “was just icing on the cake,” as the final sentence reads, the two standing proudly with a blue ribbon and trophy, hearts filling the space above and between them. Dardik’s digital illustrations are pastel confections. Sometimes just the characters’ heads are the treats, and other times the whole body is the foodstuff, with tiny arms and legs added on. Even the buildings are like something from “Hansel and Gretel.” However, this pun-filled narrative is just one of many of its ilk, good for a few yuks but without much staying power.

In contrast to the carbs and desserts pictured, though sweet, this is unlikely to stick with readers. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2239-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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