Beanie weenies served just right for young campers.

FRANK AND BEAN

A hilarious tale of hot dog meets bean.

With his campsite all set up in the great outdoors, solitude-seeking Frank (a bespectacled frankfurter in hat and bun) is more than ready to get down to business writing. But, alas, his “top secret” musings are interrupted by animals. Frank relocates a few times until he finds his desired level of peace and quiet. The next day, Bean (a kidney bean) arrives on the scene with a “HONK!” a “TOOT!” and a “BOOM!” Armed with a plethora of instruments and with a motorcycle atop his microbus, Bean—ever the musical fruit—makes all the noise he can as a “one-bean band.” Even so, Bean needs words in order to write a new song. Frank volunteers to help him. But whether Bean is too “loud” or too “messy,” Frank always finds something to frown about. Good gravy! Will the two ever get along? The Bert-and-Ernie–esque odd-couple pairing results in countless laugh-out-loud exchanges. Kolar’s digitally rendered full-color illustrations take the jokes one step further, offering expressive physical cartoon comedy that’s on a par with Michalak’s clever wordsmithing. Though most pages break up blocks of short text with illustrations, a few pages do reach a double-digit sentence count. With four chapters and a vocabulary of around 200 words and their variants, the story requires a fair degree of reading confidence.

Beanie weenies served just right for young campers. (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9559-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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