Original art and visually engrossing worlds will have readers visiting this book over and over again

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PABLO & JANE AND THE HOT AIR CONTRAPTION

A duo’s blasé afternoon deviates into an unexpected journey crossing dimension and time.

Jane, a red-haired, adventure-seeking girl, and her cautious friend Pablo, an anxious boy with oval-rimmed glasses, have exhausted their array of entertainment options: they’ve played board games, flicked through comic books, dismembered toys. Their boredom produces a trek to the old house on the hill, where they meet Dr. Jules, a talking rat and the architect of a hot air–powered time contraption. A cunning cat, Felinibus, steals pieces from the contraption and tricks the trio into the Monster Dimension. Sabotaged and with a dinner curfew looming, they set out to find the missing pieces. Domingo successfully shifts from comic panels to labyrinthine double-page spreads, from a fast-paced adventure to a focused quest. In pursuit of Felinibus and the stolen pieces, Jane, Pablo, and Dr. Jules dodge danger time and time again as they drift over Lopsided London through Macabre Marrakech, Bone-Chilling Bayou, and other such locales to Immortal India. Filled with alliteration and challenging vocabulary, the story blends adventure, a familiar Where’s Waldo concept, myth, and expedition for a new, clever search-and-find.

Original art and visually engrossing worlds will have readers visiting this book over and over again . (Graphic adventure. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-909263-36-9

Page Count: 57

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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Although the author may be famous in the adult literary world, this story is not a success.

THE MOUNTAIN WHO WANTED TO LIVE IN A HOUSE

A well-known New Zealand writer for adults offers children a tale about an inanimate object who wants to live like a person.

A mountain walks to town, where it meets Thomas, a white boy who stays behind when all the other people flee, and says: “I only want to live in a house.” Thomas decides that the mountain is too large for any house. There is a folkloric element to the tale, as Thomas tries in three ways to help the mountain get his wish. First he attempts to shrink the mountain with soap and water and then chips away at the stone. Finally, he decides that his father, an artist, will paint the mountain’s picture and put it in a house. He persuades the mountain that it can remain a place where people can enjoy picnicking and skiing and still live in a house with people, a Solomonic solution that may not resonate with the intended audience. The acrylic paintings, mostly in shades of brown and gray, are realistically rendered, except when the mountain comes to life with the craggy, anthropomorphized face of a sculpted idol. There is a surrealist, static feel to some of the paintings, and the language, no doubt aspiring as well to the folkloric, is stilted.

Although the author may be famous in the adult literary world, this story is not a success. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-76036-002-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Starfish Bay

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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It’s a promising concept but a pallid conclusion.

SLEEPING CINDERELLA AND OTHER PRINCESS MIX-UPS

It rhymes. It has cute crossovers. It has doe-eyed princesses who are unhappy with their lots.

Snow White is tired of cleaning up after seven dwarves, so she takes a walk and discovers the lonely tower of Rapunzel. Rapunzel is all too thrilled to get out, and Snow White wants to be alone, so they switch places. Trailing her impossibly long, blonde locks behind her, Rapunzel meets up with Cinderella, who would rather sleep than go to a ball. Leaving the pumpkin coach to Rapunzel, Cinderella finds Sleeping Beauty’s bed and keels over into it, accidentally kissing the slumberer on the cheek, which wakens her. Bringing the story full circle, the no-longer-sleeping Beauty comes upon the dwarves’ house, where there is Stuff! To! Do! In the end, of course, the princesses sort themselves back out, with Lessons: Snow White gives each dwarf a chore; Rapunzel negotiates a day trip each week; Cinderella opts for college over a prince; and Beauty discovers knitting is less prickly than spinning. Bright colors, strong line, and clearly differentiated hairstyles and clothing do not quite make up for something of a clunker at the end: “So, by talking things through and her problems amending, / each girl truly made her own fairy tale ending.”

It’s a promising concept but a pallid conclusion. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-56564-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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