Children (and adults) can be lost for a long and pleasurable time amid the sparkles.


A tatterdemalion heroine wearing rags and stars falls into a dream hole and flies through the heavens.

Precious Little works for the Light Fantastics, watching the contortionists, Knots-R-Us, and the fire-eaters, Flambé and the Infernos, but longing to fly. Her friends Fat Chance and Tough Luck draw a wire across the "lucky dip," and she begins to cross it. She falls instead into the dip, which gives her a choice. She chooses “the Risk” and bursts into the sky with “galaxy swoops and over-the-moon backflips”—then, seeing the big top below, flies down into Fat and Tough’s waiting hands. The text swirls and makes loop-the-loops all over the pages, necessitating constant turning, all the better to pore over the spectacular art. Precious has blue-spangled hair and a skirt like a flower, striped tights and bare feet. She flies and floats through a universe of funhouse-mirror images, delicate pen lines and tea-stained backgrounds. The whole is a performance, the front endpapers stating “show starts now,” and the title page with curtain drawn, but it is more, too. A fable of imagination? An invitation to leave the familiar and test your wings? The comfort of returning to loved ones after an adventure? Perhaps all those things.

Children (and adults) can be lost for a long and pleasurable time amid the sparkles. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-74175-147-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization.


If Pluto can’t be a planet—then what is he?

Having been a regular planet for “the better part of forever,” Pluto is understandably knocked out of orbit by his sudden exclusion. With Charon and his four other moons in tow he sets off in search of a new identity. Unfortunately, that only spins him into further gloom, as he doesn’t have a tail like his friend Halley’s comet, is too big to join Ida and the other asteroids, and feels disinclined to try to crash into Earth like meteoroids Gem and Persi. Then, just as he’s about to plunge into a black hole of despair, an encounter with a whole quartet of kindred spheroids led by Eris rocks his world…and a follow-up surprise party thrown by an apologetic Saturn (“Dwarf planet has a nice RING to it”) and the other seven former colleagues literally puts him “over the moon.” Demmer gives all the heavenly bodies big eyes (some, including the feminine Saturn, with long lashes) and, on occasion, short arms along with distinctive identifying colors or markings. Dressing the troublemaking meteoroids in do-rags and sunglasses sounds an off note. Without mentioning that the reclassification is still controversial, Wade closes with a (somewhat) straighter account of Pluto’s current official status and the reasons for it.

Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-004-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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From the Ballpark Mysteries series , Vol. 1

A new series for emerging chapter-book readers combines the allure of baseball parks with the challenge of solving a mystery. Mike and Kate have tickets to a Red Sox game and an all-access pass to the park, courtesy of Kate's mom, a sportswriter. The pass comes in handy when it's reported that star player Big D's lucky bat has been stolen, as it allows them to help find the thief. Historical details about Fenway Park, including the secret code found on the manual scoreboard, a look at Wally the mascot and a peek into the gift shop, will keep the young baseball fan reading, even when the actual mystery of the missing bat falls a little flat. Writing mysteries for very young readers is a challenge—the puzzle has to be easy enough to solve while sustaining readers' interest. This slight adventure is more baseball-park travel pamphlet than mystery, a vehicle for providing interesting details about one of the hallowed halls of baseball. Not a homerun, but certainly a double for the young enthusiast. On deck? The Pinstripe Ghost, also out on Feb. 22, 2011. (historical notes) (Mystery. 6-9)



Pub Date: Feb. 22, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-86703-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2011

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