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 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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


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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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.


Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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