PRINCESSES ARE NOT QUITTERS!

Three pampered princesses find out what life is like for the overworked servants in their “huge silver palace by the sea,” in this ode to the inherent worth of a hard day’s work. Lum uses a light, humorous approach and fairytale language to convey her gentle social commentary, providing lots of snappy dialogue and long lists of chores that the princesses must accomplish when they switch places with three servant girls as a lark. The princesses have a collective paradigm shift in attitude and proclaim kinder, gentler rules for the servant staff. They continue to pitch in with the work as they find they enjoy the fruits of their own labor. Hellard’s delightful watercolor-and-ink illustrations feature 18th-century-style princesses and a palace reminiscent of Versailles. The princesses are particularly amusing, with imaginative, fancy gowns and immense wigs that provide resting spots for passing farmyard fowl and a stray spider. The illustrations are full of visual humor and tiny jokes that extend the humor of the story. Little modern-day princesses who don’t like to clean their own rooms just might learn a thing or three from these practical princesses. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 1-58234-762-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2003

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UNICORN WINGS

The can’t-miss subject of this Step into Reading series entry—a unicorn with a magic horn who also longs for wings—trumps its text, which is dry even by easy-reader standards. A boy unicorn, whose horn has healing powers, reveals his wish to a butterfly in a castle garden, a bluebird in the forest and a snowy white swan in a pond. Falling asleep at the edge of the sea, the unicorn is visited by a winged white mare. He heals her broken wing and she flies away. After sadly invoking his wish once more, he sees his reflection: “He had big white wings!” He flies off after the mare, because he “wanted to say, ‘Thank you.’ ” Perfectly suiting this confection, Silin-Palmer’s pictures teem with the mass market–fueled iconography of what little girls are (ostensibly) made of: rainbows, flowers, twinkly stars and, of course, manes down to there. (Easy reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2006

ISBN: 0-375-83117-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2006

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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