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Share this well-designed story with those grappling with sibling issues or with a small group come October. Truly, it is a...

Newly independent readers with younger siblings will be sympathetic with Lulu Witch’s frustrations concerning Witch Baby and amused when her remedial potion and spell deliver unexpected results.

With Witch Baby around, Lulu does not get the attention she once did. Witch Baby gets all the presents, Mama Witch has no time to watch Lulu fly on her broom, and Daddy Witch is too busy to fix Lulu’s dollhouse. Everyone is focused on Witch Baby even when she does bad things. When Mama Witch asks Lulu to watch the baby while she runs an errand, Lulu sees her chance, finding a recipe for a magic brew to make her little sister disappear. At first the potion does not seem to work, but then Witch Baby is nowhere to be found. Lulu’s initial moment of triumph is quickly replaced by worry, then remorse. What will happen when Mama comes home? This reissue of O’Connor’s classic tale (originally illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully in 1986) has new illustrations by Sinclair with a retro feel, charming with comic details. Industrious mice scurry about many of the pages, worms crawl out of an overturned cauldron, and Mama Witch knits with freshly spun spider silk.

Share this well-designed story with those grappling with sibling issues or with a small group come October. Truly, it is a good title to pick up anytime. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 22, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-230517-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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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

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From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

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

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 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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