An enchanting bedtime tale to be read over and over again.

WEE SISTER STRANGE

A young woodland child is on the hunt for a bedtime story in Grant and Campbell’s debut collaboration.

“They say there’s a girl / Who lives by the woods / In a crooked old house / With no garden but gloom.” So begins the tale of the small, pale-skinned, nymphlike girl named Wee Sister Strange who wanders the woods at night. She calls to owls, rides on the back of a bear, climbs to the tops of the trees, and dives to the bottom of a bog. But it is not until she comes to “a snug little house / With one window aglow” that Wee Sister Strange finds what she has been searching for—a bedtime story. Inside the house, tucked into bed, is another young child with dark hair and brown skin, whose mother is reading a familiar-looking picture book as the text proclaims, “And there’s you in your bed / With this book ’neath your nose!” Campbell’s illustrations give Sister’s nighttime world shape and depth with emphatic splashes of light, while Grant’s deployment of verse draws readers further and further in until, with a quiet metafictive twist, they find themselves reflected in both text and illustrations, gracefully aligned with the sleepy young reader of color in the book.

An enchanting bedtime tale to be read over and over again. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-50879-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures.

PIPPA'S NIGHT PARADE

Pippa conquers a fear of the creatures that emerge from her storybooks at night.

Pippa’s “wonderfully wild imagination” can sometimes run “a little TOO wild.” During the day, she wears her “armor” and is a force to be reckoned with. But in bed at night, Pippa worries about “villains and monsters and beasts.” Sharp-toothed and -taloned shadows, dragons, and pirates emerge from her storybooks like genies from a bottle, just to scare her. Pippa flees to her parents’ room only to be brought back time and again. Finally, Pippa decides that she “needs a plan” to “get rid of them once and for all.” She decides to slip a written invitation into every book, and that night, they all come out. She tries subduing them with a lasso, an eye patch, and a sombrero, but she is defeated. Next, she tries “sashes and sequins and bows,” throwing the fashion pieces on the monsters, who…“begin to pose and primp and preen.” After that success, their fashion show becomes a nightly ritual. Clever Pippa’s transformation from scared victim of her own imagination to leader of the monster pack feels fairly sudden, but it’s satisfying nonetheless. The cartoony illustrations effectively use dynamic strokes, shadow, and light to capture action on the page and the feeling of Pippa's fears taking over her real space. Pippa and her parents are brown-skinned with curls of various textures.

A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9300-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it.

THE OLD BOAT

A multigenerational tale of a boat’s life with a Black family, written by two brothers who loved similar boats.

In the opening spread, a smiling, brown-skinned adult dangles a line from the back of a green-and-white boat while a boy peers eagerly over the side at the sea life. The text never describes years passing, but each page turn reveals the boy’s aging, more urban development on the shore, increasing water pollution, marine-life changes (sea jellies abound on one page), and shifting water levels. Eventually, the boy, now a teenager, steers the boat, and as an adult, he fishes alone but must go farther and farther out to sea to make his catch. One day, the man loses his way, capsizes in a storm, and washes up on a small bay island, with the overturned, sunken boat just offshore. Now a “new sailor” cleans up the land and water with others’ help. The physical similarities between the shipwrecked sailor and the “new sailor” suggest that this is not a new person but one whose near-death experience has led to an epiphany that changes his relationship to water. As the decaying boat becomes a new marine habitat, the sailor teaches the next generation (a child with hair in two Afro puffs) to fish. Focusing primarily on the sea, the book’s earth-toned illustrations, created with hundreds of stamps, carry the compelling plot.

A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00517-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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