Despite razzle-dazzle illustrations, this familiar tale does not take flight.

READ REVIEW

THE KITE PRINCESS

To pounding rhyme, Princess Cinnamon Stitch escapes from the confines of deportment into weeds, fleas and tree-climbing and then she transforms her parents.

Cinnamon shucks off her fancy duds to explore the messy, muddy world, but she is brought back to the king and queen before she could play with a local boy. Her mother’s insistence on needlework gives her an idea, though, and she makes a colorful patchwork kite—and takes flight with it. The king and queen are astonished, but they immediately order kites for themselves. “They’re all happy now, and they’re less stuffy too. / With Cinnamon’s stitching, their world grew and grew. / With Cinnamon’s stitching, they took off and flew.” The rhyme is fairly dull, and the tale of a princess longing to escape the confines of grace and needlework to do what children do is not well served by the words. The pictures, done in a variety of media (pencil, felt-tip, collage, watercolor, etc.) and then scanned and arranged, are bright and rich in curlicues and stars, hearts and flowers, leaves and feathers. Often reminiscent of Eastern European folk art or batik patterns, the multiple images provide a lot to look at. Includes CD read by Imelda Staunton (not heard) and instructions for kite-making.

Despite razzle-dazzle illustrations, this familiar tale does not take flight. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-84686-803-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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In what seems like a veritable golden age of beginning readers, perhaps some things are better not published. Or read.

WEDGIEMAN

A HERO IS BORN

From the Adventures of Wedgieman series , Vol. 1

Captain Underpants he ain’t.

Although some may initially associate Harper and Shea’s beginning reader with Pilkey’s popular series, it falls short with a thin story and none of the master's clever sense of subversive, ribald humor. The titular hero starts as Veggiebaby, then becomes Veggieboy, then Veggieman, his growth and development attributed to his love of vegetables. He practices his superpowers as he grows, with text and art taking cheap shots at elderly women (as he lifts “a bus filled with chattering grandmas”) and overweight people (as his X-ray vision enables him to see into a house where a rotund man stands, embarrassed and clad only in his underwear: “Some things are better not seen.”) The book ends with Veggieman getting a new name from children who see a stick stuck to his shirt, making the V into a W, and dub him Wedgieman. “We don’t care about spelling,” they assure him when he objects that the word “wedgie” has a “d” and not a double “g.” His new name is sealed when (in an odd turn of events that is, sadly, characteristic of the poorly executed text) he gives himself a wedgie.

In what seems like a veritable golden age of beginning readers, perhaps some things are better not published. Or read. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-93071-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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