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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Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids.

SADIE SPROCKET BUILDS A ROCKET

A little girl’s imaginative plan to become an astronaut and be the first to travel to Mars really takes off.

Together with a crew of stuffed animals (owl, rabbit, and teddy bear), Sadie Sprocket does her research, gathers materials to build her spaceship, and, with support from family and friends—and media coverage—embarks on her historic journey. Rhyming quatrains tell the story of how Sadie patiently reads, cooks, and records important data during the 100-day interplanetary journey. And then: “The Earth behind, so far away, / was now a tiny dot. / Then Sadie cried, ‘There’s planet Mars! / It’s smaller than I thought!’ ” After landing and gathering 20 bags of samples, Sadie and crew are stuck in a red sandstorm while trying to take off again. But with Sadie’s determination and can-do spirit, they blast off, safely returning to Earth with future heroic space-exploration ideas in mind. Spiky cartoons transform a child’s playroom into an outer-space venue, complete with twinkling stars and colorful planets. Sadie presents White while her encouraging fans feature more diversity. An addendum includes brief facts about Mars and a handful of women space scientists. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1803-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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