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From the Very Fairy Princess series , Vol. 5

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

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. 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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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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A warm and welcome story for emerging readers and their families.

Pumpkins star in this family-centered early reader.

Sketched in rhyming, easy-to-read couplets, this familiar autumn setting is made even warmer by the sweet  family that is making a trip to the pumpkin farm. “Sunny day. Pack a lunch. / In the treetops squirrels munch.” So begins the story of a black mother and father and their young son and daughter. They find their special pumpkins and return home for carving, just in time for trick-or-treating. Mother and father are shown walking hand in hand or gently guiding their youngsters, who are very excited to pick out the perfect gourd. Read aloud, the predictable rhyme scans well, making this a book for emerging readers to read over and over, gaining confidence each time. The full-color illustrations, full of oranges and yellows, match the words, providing important visual cues. Little ones will laugh when the younger brother initially finds a huge pumpkin and rolls it over the hill like a bowling ball. “Thump! Thump! Thump! Then… / Uh-oh!” Eventually, he finds one just the right size for carving. Children of color are remarkably absent in the easy-reader stacks, so it’s an especially welcome treat to see them in this rural setting. Preschool and kindergarten teachers will want to add this to their collections.

A warm and welcome story for emerging readers and their families. (Early reader. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51341-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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