This twist on dreams coming true goes on a bit too long.

A young girl dreams of being a circus star in this British import.

Posters of trapeze artists adorn Sky’s walls, and she sleeps under a comforter patterned with big-top tents and colorful balloons. “She dreams of clowns, / She dreams of acrobats, / She dreams of stardust; / All the fun of the circus!” In this dream, a diverse troupe of performers makes music and performs stunts, one of them a figure in a wheelchair. However, a persistent voice keeps interrupting: “Get up Sky!” and “Hurry up Sky!” Sky, who has brown skin and straight, black hair, eventually wakes and heads out to start her day. This is when readers get a glimpse that there just might be reality behind this dream. There is a big top in the background, and the school Sky heads to from her trailer is another one, with “SCHOOL” on its door. Sky is a circus performer after all! Camp infuses the art with circus enthusiasm: Sky balances towers of school books in each hand (juggling and tumbling texts are mixed in), and at breakfast, a pyramid of coffee cups take center stage on the table. Overall, the reveal is fun, but while readers will enjoy seeing that the figures from Sky’s dreams inhabit her reality as well, dragging it out over 11 pages serves to deflate rather than increase excitement.

This twist on dreams coming true goes on a bit too long. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-78628-298-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: Feb. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020


Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022


A muddled message shoots for the moon but never quite gets all the way off the ground.

A little mouse experiences BIG changes thanks to a spectacular talent.

Dee’s a singer to her core. She croons absolutely everywhere, so when her teacher Miss Pink suggests that her students bring in something that symbolizes what they enjoy doing, Dee brings in a song. As she sings it, however, her joy causes her to physically grow huge! At first this makes her feel special, but as the day goes on she feels lonely and out of place. Shrinking back to her normal size, she worries that this means she can never sing again. But thanks to the encouragement of her mother and little sister, she realizes that being special is nothing to be ashamed of. However, though her classmates have skills of their own, only Dee changes, indicating that some talents are more transformative than others. After all, while everyone is enthralled by Dee, Ren the turtle’s talent for drawing a replica of a space station is something he “made everyone watch.” The true standout in this show comes from Sinquett’s dynamic art, capable of encompassing the emotional highs and lows of elementary school kids. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A muddled message shoots for the moon but never quite gets all the way off the ground. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-368-07806-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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