A too-familiar offering that relies too heavily upon vestigial technology and not enough upon its own internal workings.

READ REVIEW

THE DRAGON HUNTERS

From the Dragon Brothers Trilogy series , Vol. 1

Two brothers must save their beloved dog from a fierce dragon.

One rainy day on a mystical island, sandy-haired, white brothers Flynn and Paddy’s beloved chocolate Lab, Coco, is abducted by a scaly red dragon. The next day, the pair set out to rescue their beloved pooch. Locating the dragon’s lair, they sneak in to save Coco. After the requisite close call with some fiery reptilian breath, the brothers retrieve Coco and return home in time for dinner and a tidy resolution. Full-page illustrations and small sketches accompany abcb quatrains, making for a pleasant if singsong-y read-aloud. However, Russell’s tale of brothers working together to battle a fearsome beast manages to be both vague and wooden. Striving to break the mold, this volume offers an augmented-reality component wherein readers can download an app and scan the map on the endpapers, bringing it to life with tiny dragons flying in lazy circles and volcanoes puffing ethereal clouds. While it’s an interesting gimmick, the story itself never fleshes out the boys’ “wondrous island,” rendering the AR component extraneous and turning it into more of a contrivance than a complement. This is the first in a trilogy; perhaps later books will offer more explanation and exploration than exposition.

A too-familiar offering that relies too heavily upon vestigial technology and not enough upon its own internal workings. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4861-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A slim, feel-good story, as light and airy as the rainbows that grace its pages.

NOT QUITE NARWHAL

Being true to yourself means embracing differences and striding (or paddling) fearlessly into the world.

Emerging from a giant clam, baby unicorn Kelp lives among narwhals, believing he’s just not as good as everyone else at swimming, appreciating a squid dinner, or breathing underwater (he sports a glass diving helmet—with a gasket-encircled hole for his horn). Swept close to shore one day, he spies for the first time an adult unicorn and, struck by the resemblance to himself, totters onto solid ground. The “land narwhals” explain to him that they—and he—are unicorns. Kelp’s blissful new life of learning to do special unicorn things amid sparkles and rainbows is punctuated by sadness over the narwhal friends he left behind. Upon returning to his watery home, Kelp learns that the narwhals knew all along that he was actually a unicorn. Following a brief internal tussle over where he truly belongs, Kelp recognizes that he doesn’t have to be just one thing or another and happily unites his friends at the shoreline. As seen in Sima’s soft, digital illustrations, Kelp is adorable, and she evokes both undersea and aboveground environments artfully. The message is an appealing one that could speak to many family situations relating to multiple identities, but the central dilemma is resolved so quickly and easily that there is little room for emotional engagement.

A slim, feel-good story, as light and airy as the rainbows that grace its pages. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6909-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A chuckle-inducing, entirely worthy stand-alone follow-up to the terrific The Princess in Black (2014).

THE PRINCESS IN BLACK AND THE PERFECT PRINCESS PARTY

From the Princess in Black series , Vol. 2

Princess Magnolia’s perfect birthday party’s threatened by constant monster alarms, summoning her secret identity again and again.

Prim, proper Princess Magnolia is all decked out in her pink finery, awaiting the arrival of a dozen ethnically diverse fellow-princess party guests for her birthday when her monster-alarm ring goes off. She changes attire and personas, becoming the heroic Princess in Black. Working swiftly, she saves a goat from a hungry monster and gets back to her palace in time to welcome her guests. But just when she thinks she’s in the clear and ready to open her presents, off goes her monster-alarm ring again! This pattern—Magnolia is just about to open presents when her alarm goes off, she comes up with a distraction for the princesses, defeats a monster, and returns just in time—continues through the book. It’s enhanced by visual gags, such as Magnolia’s increasingly flustered appearance, and hilarious depictions of the various ways monsters try to eat goats, from between giant pieces of bread to in a giant ice cream cone. A side character, the fittingly named Princess Sneezewort, frequently comes close to discovering Magnolia’s secret. In the end, Magnolia can’t take the constant interruptions anymore, yelling at a monster that it’s her birthday—the monster, abashed, ends up helping her in one last distraction for the other princesses.

A chuckle-inducing, entirely worthy stand-alone follow-up to the terrific The Princess in Black (2014). (Fantasy. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6511-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more