This exploration of ancient mythical creatures as potential pets satisfies with its double twist ending.

MISS TURIE'S MAGIC CREATURES

Miss Turie attempts to lure a boy into purchasing a magical pet.

Miss Turie guarantees that she always finds a match for potential owners of her magical creatures. The beguiling pet shop boasts an assortment of mythological animals: a unicorn, a dragon, griffons, a kraken, a golem, a chimera, and more. After introducing this range of colorful potential pets to a child who rejects each one, Miss Turie seems out of options and at her wits’ end—and her customer shares her frustration. Nothing shocks Miss Turie more than when the brown boy with dark brown curly hair points to a sleeping creature. “It won’t fetch or give you hugs or greet you at your welcome mat. Its claws and fangs are dagger sharp!” she warns. The boy’s mythical creature of choice is a friendly and adorable, seemingly ordinary gray tabby cat. Before Miss Turie can mention a last caveat, the boy has happily purchased his new friend—which leaves a trail of rainbows, sparkles, and stars behind them. Backmatter provides an illustrated glossary of enchanted beasts and their countries of origin, with the last page prominently dedicated to the cat. The cartoon artwork is colorful and blithe, with the fabled beings possessing as much personality as the eccentric, brown-skinned, big-hair-don’t-care Miss Turie.

This exploration of ancient mythical creatures as potential pets satisfies with its double twist ending. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-943147-41-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: The Innovation Press

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.

DRAGONS LOVE TACOS

From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

PERFECTLY NORMAN

From the Big Bright Feelings series

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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