Readers will cheer this princess’s gumption and almost unfailing optimism as she navigates disappointment and a momentary...


From the Very Fairy Princess series , Vol. 5

Geraldine returns in her fifth adventure with as much “sparkle” as ever. She is preparing to sing at the Winter Wonderland Festival and hopes she will be the star of the concert.

Andrews and Hamilton tell the tale in first person from Geraldine’s charmingly spirited point of view. Her excitement about the upcoming event and her hoped-for part in it is delivered with a peppering of exclamatory sentences: “I get to sing with the chorus!” and “I am the most ENTHUSIASTIC singer in our school!” She would love to be chosen to sing the solo, but her bubble is burst when Mr. Higginbottom announces that a professional singer will be performing the cherished part. Her family attempts to cheer her up, and she gets ready for the big day. When a snowstorm keeps the guest singer from arriving on time, this princess is ready—“Fairy princesses are ALWAYS happy to lend a hand in a crisis.” As she is about to go on stage, Geraldine realizes she has left her dress-up shoes at home. Big boots won’t do and neither will her mismatched socks with one big toe poking out. A last-minute decision to paint purple ballet slippers on her socks at first leads to anxiety, but her princesslike poise swells with the music and “[s]uddenly [her] sparkle comes RUSHING back.” Davenier deftly illustrates all the drama in ink and colored pencil.

Readers will cheer this princess’s gumption and almost unfailing optimism as she navigates disappointment and a momentary case of stage fright. Kids are sure to applaud this encore performance. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-316-21963-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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Safe to creep on by.


Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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As ephemeral as a valentine.


Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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