Too finicky by half to have its day in court.

THE PRINCESS AND...THE PEAS AND CARROTS

"The Princess and the Pea," courtesy of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of the princess and the pea is about exquisite sensitivities—of the upper crust in the original, here mainlined into the hoi polloi as what looks rather plainly to be obsessive compulsion. Perhaps the reason behind the relocation was for identification purposes, but Princess Rosebud, aka Princess Fussy in this nattering story, isn’t anyone upon whom readers will want to pin their prospects. This princess likes things just so: Her crayons on the table must be like this, the sand in her bathing suit (none, that is) like that, the stretch of her socks comme ça, labels removed from all shirts and, forefend, no peas touching the carrots on her dinner plate. When the last shatters her world, she shoves the plate off the table, gets sent to her room and later apologizes. After her father reads her the original story (tipped in as separate folio leaves on successive spreads), she has a bad night’s sleep thanks to a wayward marble and is confirmed a princess. As it were. Foster’s eye-easy artwork, with its soft colors and comfortable, retro lines, can’t elevate Princess Rosebud to enchanted status.

Too finicky by half to have its day in court. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60905-250-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Apple

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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A validating and breathtaking next chapter of a Mother Goose favorite.

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AFTER THE FALL (HOW HUMPTY DUMPTY GOT BACK UP AGAIN)

Humpty Dumpty, classically portrayed as an egg, recounts what happened after he fell off the wall in Santat’s latest.

An avid ornithophile, Humpty had loved being atop a high wall to be close to the birds, but after his fall and reassembly by the king’s men, high places—even his lofted bed—become intolerable. As he puts it, “There were some parts that couldn’t be healed with bandages and glue.” Although fear bars Humpty from many of his passions, it is the birds he misses the most, and he painstakingly builds (after several papercut-punctuated attempts) a beautiful paper plane to fly among them. But when the plane lands on the very wall Humpty has so doggedly been avoiding, he faces the choice of continuing to follow his fear or to break free of it, which he does, going from cracked egg to powerful flight in a sequence of stunning spreads. Santat applies his considerable talent for intertwining visual and textual, whimsy and gravity to his consideration of trauma and the oft-overlooked importance of self-determined recovery. While this newest addition to Santat’s successes will inevitably (and deservedly) be lauded, younger readers may not notice the de-emphasis of an equally important part of recovery: that it is not compulsory—it is OK not to be OK.

A validating and breathtaking next chapter of a Mother Goose favorite. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-682-6

Page Count: 45

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Clever verse coupled with bold primary-colored images is sure to attract and hone the attention of fun-seeking children...

TOYS GALORE

A fizzy yet revealing romp through the toy world.

Though of standard picture-book size, Stein and illustrator Staake’s latest collaboration (Bugs Galore, 2012, etc.) presents a sweeping compendium of diversions for the young. From fairies and gnomes, race cars and jacks, tin cans and socks, to pots ’n’ pans and a cardboard box, Stein combs the toy kingdom for equally thrilling sources of fun. These light, tightly rhymed quatrains focus nicely on the functions characterizing various objects, such as “Floaty, bubbly, / while-you-wash toys” or “Sharing-secrets- / with-tin-cans toys,” rather than flatly stating their names. Such ambiguity at once offers Staake free artistic rein to depict copious items capable of performing those tasks and provides pre-readers ample freedom to draw from the experiences of their own toy chests as they scan Staake’s vibrant spreads brimming with chunky, digitally rendered objects and children at play. The sense of community and sharing suggested by most of the spreads contributes well to Stein’s ultimate theme, which he frames by asking: “But which toy is / the best toy ever? / The one most fun? / Most cool and clever?” Faced with three concluding pages filled with all sorts of indoor and outside toys to choose from, youngsters may be shocked to learn, on turning to the final spread, that the greatest one of all—“a toy SENSATION!”—proves to be “[y]our very own / imagination.”

Clever verse coupled with bold primary-colored images is sure to attract and hone the attention of fun-seeking children everywhere. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6254-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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