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Let this one sashay away from your shelves.

A wig feels insignificant until it recalls its purpose.

Wig, a bright pink hair covering styled in a Brigitte Bardot–inspired bouffant, is the prized possession of a young boy named B.B. Bedazzle, who is participating in a drag contest called the Big Wig Ball. On the way to the event, Wig attracts attention and feels larger-than-life on B.B.’s head but upon arriving at the ball, suffers a crisis of confidence. Everywhere she looks, there are wigs that are even taller and showier than she is. Feeling intimidated, Wig abandons B.B. and flies through the air, zooming among the heads of audience members. With each head she lands on, Wig’s hairstyle changes, and the person is magically transformed into a fearless, glamorous drag queen. By instilling confidence in others, Wig regains her own. Recalling that she has left B.B.’s head bare, “Wig frizzes and fizzles and splits her ends, flying home FAST to find her friend” as the contest begins. Readers will smile at the satisfying ending. Why Wig feels more confident on heads other than B.B’s. and how B.B. feels after being temporarily abandoned by Wig are important questions left noticeably unaddressed. While clearly attempting to provide lighthearted encouragement for children who might feel inadequate, the choice of a wig—rather than a drag queen or queer child—as the entry point for empathy and self-reflection leaves much to be desired. Most characters have pale skin, and a few have textured hair and brown skin that cue them as Black. B.B. and B.B.’s parents are White.

Let this one sashay away from your shelves. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-8771-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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