With picture books seeming to hew to ever more minimalist approaches, this retelling of a Norse myth, rich with adventure...

ARTHUR AND THE GOLDEN ROPE

From the Brownstone's Mythical Collection series , Vol. 1

An unlikely hero rescues his Icelandic village in this picture-book retelling of “The Binding of Fenrir.”

Mr. Brownstone—a white, white-bearded narrator in a plaid suit—welcomes readers to his family vault, wherein lie artifacts collected over thousands of years from all corners of the globe. His “most treasured possession” is his book collection. The books contain long-forgotten stories told by Brownstone’s ancestors, and the narrator segues into the tale of a young, white Icelandic adventure seeker named Arthur. When young Arthur explores a forest in search of a magical worm species, he encounters Fenrir, a monstrous black wolf, who heads straight for his village and puts out its great fire, without which the town will freeze and its people die. Through research, exploration, and bravery, Arthur receives guidance from Thor and Odin in order to defeat and capture Fenrir and his minions. British debut storyteller Todd-Stanton’s elaborate Icelandic- and Norse-inspired depictions plunge readers into the deepest parts of the mythic story, centering a young boy rather than a god as the pivotal hero. Cool blue-greens contrast with warm orange-reds to illustrate an intricate world from another time. Clear narration and smatterings of wordless panels catapult readers into this first adventure in a new series.

With picture books seeming to hew to ever more minimalist approaches, this retelling of a Norse myth, rich with adventure and mystery in a wonderfully picturesque package, comes as an opulent treat. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-911171-03-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

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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An enigmatic, quirky representation of an active imagination in search of understanding and companionship.

MAGIC CANDIES

A child finds connection to the world all around in this Korean import.

The illustrations in this unusual picture book achieve a 3-D effect reminiscent of claymation. The opening scene shows an aerial view of a playground scattered with maple and gingko leaves; a tethered dog watches a child aiming at marbles. Accustomed to spending time alone and solitary play, Tong Tong’s fertile imagination infuses a bag of assorted spherical hard candies with powers that give voice to unlikely speakers, such as the living room sofa and Marbles the old dog, each speaking with Tong Tong to share a sentient perspective. The hard candies also channel the tough love hidden within Tong Tong’s father and Grandma’s bubbly, reassuring voice emanating from another realm. The candies’ magic reveals yet another dimension when Tong Tong is drawn outdoors to witness nature’s beauty as copious falling leaves bid farewell to the season. Through these uncanny exchanges, Tong Tong not only makes surprising discoveries, but also delves into complex emotions, celebrates a continuing relationship with Grandma, and takes courageous steps toward a tantalizing conclusion. The enhanced artwork establishes depth and perspective, featuring details some may find initially unsettling—along with the cryptic, open-ended narrative. That said, depictions of facial expressions are skillful and endearing, and the interplay between text and illustrations will cause readers to linger and ponder.

An enigmatic, quirky representation of an active imagination in search of understanding and companionship. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2959-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Amazon Crossing Kids

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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