Readers unfamiliar with the TV series may be left scratching their heads, and even for those who are fans, Tiny’s dilemma...

READ REVIEW

LOOKING FOR A LULLABY

From the Clangers series

A British stop-motion animated series makes the jump across the pond to print.

The TV series, originally broadcast from 1969 to 1972, was resurrected in 2015. The mouselike Clangers live on a planet in outer space also inhabited by mother and baby Soup Dragons and egg-shaped froglets and overseen by Iron Chicken, an amalgamation of washers, nuts, bolts, and other metal parts. (Readers may be reminded of Fraggle Rock.) The Clangers themselves are pink knit creations differentiated by size and by vest and hair color. In this tale, the youngest Clanger, Tiny, “dons her radio hat and makes her nightly bedtime call to Iron Chicken,” asking for her lullaby. (The iron hat looks like a parody of paranoiac headgear.) But something is wrong with the hat tonight, and Tiny can’t sleep without her lullaby. What follows is her attempt to get someone to sing to her, though the quest goes on far too long and inconsistencies crop up—brother Small was asleep but then suddenly is not. In the end, the froglets, Baby Soup Dragon, and Small all convince Tiny that she should sing to them, and the lullaby works like a charm on them all, Tiny included.

Readers unfamiliar with the TV series may be left scratching their heads, and even for those who are fans, Tiny’s dilemma feels overlong. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-54144-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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A deterministic message detracts from the math.

TEN MAGIC BUTTERFLIES

For 10 flower friends, the grass is always greener…in the sky.

Ten Fantasia-like flowers with adorable faces and leaf arms/hands love being together and basking in the sun, but they also can’t help wanting to break free of their roots and fly when they see the fairies flitting about in the moonlight. One night, “Said the tiny blue one, / ‘Fairy up in the sky, / you see, I’m a flower, / but I want to fly.’ ” While the fairy is puzzled at the flower’s discontent, she grants its wish and transforms it into a butterfly. One by one the others join their mate in the sky as butterflies, each one’s color reflecting its flower origin. At daybreak, though, the new butterflies regret the transformation, and the understanding fairy changes them back again: “But big and tall, / or short and small, / being ourselves / is best of all!” Really? There isn’t even one flower that would really rather fly all the time? Throughout, McKellar emphasizes that there are always 10 in all, though some may be flowers and some butterflies at any given point. The endpapers reinforce ways to make 10 by showing 11 combinations, all in two rows of five, which may confuse children, rather than always keeping butterflies separate from flowers and allowing one row to be longer than the other. The bright colors, butterflies, flowers, and the fairy, who is a dark-skinned pixie with long black hair, seem calibrated to attract girly audiences.

A deterministic message detracts from the math. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-93382-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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Not exactly out of this world but a pleaser just the same.

THERE'S AN ALIEN IN YOUR BOOK

From the There’s a…in Your Book series

Earth friends are easy to make for this roly-poly, extraterrestrial cutie.

Fletcher pens the fourth in his interactive book series, this time invading his pages with a crash-landed ET. At first readers are encouraged to tell the space being to shove off, but pretty quickly it becomes clear that it’s just too adorable to send away like that. Mostly yellow, it looks like nothing more than a smiley face with antennae, its oversized head occupying more volume than its trunk, arms, legs, and tail combined. The undersides of its hands, feet, and tail are bright green. Repairing its damaged spaceship is out of the question, and attempts to launch it into space by having readers bounce, turn, and lift the book are fruitless. Does it belong here? Well, when readers stop to consider all the creatures that live on this planet (including a cameo by the author in the art), we can recognize that “we’re all weird and wonderful.” So the alien stays and even makes a friend with the star of There’s a Monster in Your Book (2017). The story makes mild overtures toward the idea of embracing our differences no matter our appearance, but that’s all superseded by the interactive elements. By now the series is treading familiar ground, but fans will find the combination of cute creatures and gentle moralizing a comfort.

Not exactly out of this world but a pleaser just the same. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12512-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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