Meditative, musical, magical, mysterious.

THE COAT

A slightly magical, wholly satisfying fable, visually rich and verbally open-ended, originally published in Australia.

A coat, stuffed with straw and inhabited by the small creatures of the field, inveighs against its useless fate as a scarecrow. But a man comes along, a disappointed man. He sees the coat and figures it has a lot of wear yet in it, so he shakes out the straw and the mice and puts it on, though it is far too large. The coat speaks to him and carries itself and the man to the Cafe Delitzia. There, he is welcomed, fed and asked to perform, although he thinks he cannot. But the coat knows, and it plays the accordion with such expertise that the crowd is enchanted. At the end of the night, the coat fits him perfectly, and off the man and the coat go. Brooks’ fine illustrations fit the pattern of the words perfectly. The images in the field start in dull sepia tones, and the coat actually looks pretty bedraggled, but by the time the man reaches the Cafe Delitzia, it begins to glow; as it plays and he sings, the pictures become more colorful. The typeface emulates handwritten script, complementing the illustrations’ line but occasionally becoming hard to read.

Meditative, musical, magical, mysterious. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-74114-605-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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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

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A close encounter of the best kind.

FIELD TRIP TO THE MOON

Left behind when the space bus departs, a child discovers that the moon isn’t as lifeless as it looks.

While the rest of the space-suited class follows the teacher like ducklings, one laggard carrying crayons and a sketchbook sits down to draw our home planet floating overhead, falls asleep, and wakes to see the bus zooming off. The bright yellow bus, the gaggle of playful field-trippers, and even the dull gray boulders strewn over the equally dull gray lunar surface have a rounded solidity suggestive of Plasticine models in Hare’s wordless but cinematic scenes…as do the rubbery, one-eyed, dull gray creatures (think: those stress-busting dolls with ears that pop out when squeezed) that emerge from the regolith. The mutual shock lasts but a moment before the lunarians eagerly grab the proffered crayons to brighten the bland gray setting with silly designs. The creatures dive into the dust when the bus swoops back down but pop up to exchange goodbye waves with the errant child, who turns out to be an olive-skinned kid with a mop of brown hair last seen drawing one of their new friends with the one crayon—gray, of course—left in the box. Body language is expressive enough in this debut outing to make a verbal narrative superfluous.

A close encounter of the best kind. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4253-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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