Emotionally stunning.

READ REVIEW

BIRDSONG

A young girl misses her urban home by the sea but soon discovers an unlikely friend who helps her to adjust.

After Katherena and her mom settle into their new rural home, Katherena visits the neighboring house and meets aging neighbor Agnes, an artist who works in clay. The seasons flow one into another. Katherena draws what she sees and grows ever closer to Agnes. Agnes tells Katherena about her art and about rural life; Katherena shares Cree words with Agnes. By the time it is fall, she’s helping Agnes in her garden. However, by winter, Agnes has become too weak to be outside much. Katherena and her mother make a salmon stew that Katherena takes over for Agnes and her daughter to enjoy. When spring returns again, Agnes continues to weaken, but Katherena has a plan to help her friend enjoy spring without going outside. Flett’s simple story explores the difficulties of moving but also shows young readers how new friends can sometimes ease them; that this friendship is an intergenerational one between fellow artists is an especially sweet touch. Flett (Cree/Métis) employs her characteristically minimalist style, placing Katherena against flat expanses of greensward that changes with the seasons, birds wheeling above in silhouette. Katherena and her mom both have brown skin and straight, black hair; Agnes has brown skin as well, but she does not speak Cree.

Emotionally stunning. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77164-473-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Greystone Kids

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE PEOPLE

A monohued tally of positive character traits.

Purple is a “magic color,” affirm the authors (both actors, though Hart’s name recognition is nowhere near the level of Bell’s), and “purple people” are the sort who ask questions, laugh wholeheartedly, work hard, freely voice feelings and opinions, help those who might “lose” their own voices in the face of unkindness, and, in sum, can “JUST BE (the real) YOU.” Unlike the obsessive protagonist of Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious franchise, being a purple person has “nothing to do with what you look like”—a point that Wiseman underscores with scenes of exuberantly posed cartoon figures (including versions of the authors) in casual North American attire but sporting a wide range of ages, skin hues, and body types. A crowded playground at the close (no social distancing here) displays all this wholesome behavior in action. Plenty of purple highlights, plus a plethora of broad smiles and wide-open mouths, crank up the visual energy—and if the earnest overall tone doesn’t snag the attention of young audiences, a grossly literal view of the young narrator and a grandparent “snot-out-our-nose laughing” should do the trick. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12196-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more