A fun, eye-catching title that’s sure to appeal to fans of fairy stories.

THE MAGIC COLORS OF SPARKLESHIRE

A young fairy dreams of bringing color to her world in middle-grade author Collen’s (Alicia Gets Ready for Adventure!, 2016) worldbuilding introduction to Sparkleshire, with illustrations by Trumble.

Young Fairy Jocelyn sees a brilliant, colorful light display in the sky, emanating from where Tooth Fairies leave for Earth. It turns out that the Fairies’ magic draws its power from bright colors, so all the color in Sparkleshire, where the Fairies live, is therefore muted and bland. Jocelyn wants to change this, so she convinces her mother to help her earn the right to wear the crown of Sparkleshire, upgrading her dream of merely becoming a Tooth Fairy to becoming the Fairy Queen. But in order to become queen, she must master the magic of every color, each of which symbolizes a Fairy’s “personal strength”: orange for daring, blue for loyalty, yellow for industry, green for ingenuity, red for humor, purple for dignity, and pink for hope. Jocelyn and her mother visit the Tooth Fairy Routing Dock, and Jocelyn is dazzled by the magic that surrounds her, beautifully portrayed in an illustration showing the colors reflecting in her eyes. She’s also delighted when her mother, in the proximity of so much magic, turns pink. The story ends with a hint of Jocelyn beginning her mission by spreading color around her, without her even seeming to notice. This conclusion leaves room for future tales about the young Fairy’s quest to become queen. The light emphasis on plot in this installment allows Collen to focus on exploring the fictional world of her middle-grade novels, and this also gives Trumble plenty of prompts to use gorgeous colors in his illustrations. These images brilliantly contrast the sepia-toned and magically active sections of Sparkleshire; the diverse cast of fairies, whose skin tones are nearly as multihued as their magic, is similarly welcome. The depiction of the loving relationship between Jocelyn and her mother, who fully supports her daughter’s ambitions, is also strong.

A fun, eye-catching title that’s sure to appeal to fans of fairy stories.

Pub Date: April 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9855732-9-4

Page Count: 30

Publisher: Streamline Brands

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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