This clever tale’s theme—that perfection isn’t important—is a significant one for kids who are afraid to make mistakes.

READ REVIEW

PRINCESS HIPPOPOTAMUS

A princess learns the importance of not being perfect in this picture book.

Princess Hippopotamus feels a lot of pressure to be perfect. She wants to grow up to be a good queen, and the only way she thinks she’ll accomplish this is by becoming a model princess. She studies hard; she practices public speaking. She embroiders, even though she’s not sure what that has to do with being a monarch. Her troublemaking brothers invite her on their adventures, but she wouldn’t dare cause a ruckus. One day, she finds her two brothers throwing water balloons from the tallest tower. But instead of behaving impeccably, she makes a surprising choice: She hurls a water balloon. When her balloon falls on Uncle Tutu’s new hat, it’s a disaster, and she flees. But her father convinces her that, while she deserves punishment for ruining the hat, she doesn’t have to always be perfect—because her mother wasn’t, and she became a good queen. The book’s layout could better balance the text and images of Otto’s (Blueberry, 2016, etc.) original princess tale. But for kids who feel a lot of pressure not to make errors, Princess Hippopotamus’ panic will likely resonate, and the comfort from her father should be reassuring. The hippos are amusing, both in the pictures and text, and their oversize shapes should have readers giggling. Debut illustrator Korniienko’s cartoon images, which feature a comically Disney flair, are sure to appeal.

This clever tale’s theme—that perfection isn’t important—is a significant one for kids who are afraid to make mistakes.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-977621-90-0

Page Count: 38

Publisher: Mead-Hill

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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CINDERELLA

This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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