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COME TO THE FAIRIES’ BALL

Out go the urgent invitations to a fairy extravaganza: “Don’t be late!” The result is a flurry of worry about what to wear. Focus slowly turns to a poor fairy that seems defeated by this perennial dilemma but gets help from some encouraging ants. Beautifully attired yet quite late, the lovely fairy is about to be turned away when the prince gallantly comes to her side. The tale, reminiscent of “Cinderella,” is unfortunately light on plot and seems more a vehicle for active wordplay and lush scenes of this fairy world than any real story. Lippincott’s richly detailed, earthy-hued watercolor illustrations will impress fairy fans with whimsical depictions of helpful animals and a diverse gathering of fairy folk. Yolen’s rhyming text, lively and peppered with words that tickle the tongue—“They trotted and trembled, / They waltzed, waddled, winged, / They hopped and gavotted, / They floated and flingged”—is more appropriate for a read-aloud than as a challenge for new readers. Those satisfied by lavish settings won’t mind the ephemeral story. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-59078-646-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2009

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DIARY OF A SPIDER

The wriggly narrator of Diary of a Worm (2003) puts in occasional appearances, but it’s his arachnid buddy who takes center stage here, with terse, tongue-in-cheek comments on his likes (his close friend Fly, Charlotte’s Web), his dislikes (vacuums, people with big feet), nervous encounters with a huge Daddy Longlegs, his extended family—which includes a Grandpa more than willing to share hard-won wisdom (The secret to a long, happy life: “Never fall asleep in a shoe.”)—and mishaps both at spider school and on the human playground. Bliss endows his garden-dwellers with faces and the odd hat or other accessory, and creates cozy webs or burrows colorfully decorated with corks, scraps, plastic toys and other human detritus. Spider closes with the notion that we could all get along, “just like me and Fly,” if we but got to know one another. Once again, brilliantly hilarious. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-000153-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

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WILLOW THE WHITE HOUSE CAT

Kids will enjoy the opportunity to “mews” on the doings of a presidential pet.

First Lady Biden and Capucilli, author of the Biscuit series, explain how Willow the cat came to reside at the White House.

Willow lives contentedly in a barn. One day, she’s curious when cars approach and people gather to hear a blond woman speak. Willow draws closer, then is delighted as the woman lifts her up and hugs her. That evening, light-skinned Farmer Rick tells Willow she made “quite an impression”: The visitor has invited Willow to live with her. A car arrives to drive Willow away to the White House, her new home in Washington, D.C. There, she’s welcomed by the first lady—the same woman who tenderly held her at the farm. Willow meets the president and explores her new home, filled with elegantly furnished rooms, grand staircases, and historic portraits. Plus, there’s a toy-filled basket! Best of all, there are wonderful people who work in and visit this beautiful house who show Willow kindness and affection. Willow’s favorite resting spot is at the president’s side in the Oval Office, though she also enjoys watching the first lady read to children on the lawn. Animal lovers will especially appreciate this sweet, cat’s-eye view of the White House, which helps humanize the first family by depicting them as ordinary feline fanciers. The loose ink, acrylic, and paint illustrations are cheerful and cozy. Background characters are racially diverse.

Kids will enjoy the opportunity to “mews” on the doings of a presidential pet. (author’s note from Biden, photos) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 4, 2024

ISBN: 9781665952057

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2024

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