Unconditional love prevails—under a thick coating of pink.


A young fairy learns that wishes don’t always meet expectations.

Twinkle and her friends each long for a pet. Fairy Godmother decides they are old enough and makes their wishes come true. Pippa’s pet spell summons a fluttering butterfly. Lulu casts her spell, and a ladybug appears. Twinkle’s spell seems harmless enough: “Abracadabra, skiddledee-day, / my pet loves to run and play!” But with a crash from the fireplace, out tumbles a plump, feisty dragon. Twinkle was hoping for something a little more fluffy and cuddly. Twinkle tries to train her boisterous (and at times naughty) pet. Her words are polite—“Please fetch the ball now, Scruffy”—but frustration is apparent in her knitted brow and frown. Scruffy pays her no mind. There is no way Scruffy will win anything at the upcoming Fairy Pet Day! Luckily, with a few small words of encouragement—“Just do your best, Scruffy”—the little dragon steals the show. Warburton’s delicate world, complete with floating fairy dust and magic sparkle bursts, lifts Holabird’s somewhat cumbersome plot into a light and buoyant confection. Twinkle, Lulu, and Fairy Godmother present White, and Pippa, one of a small minority of fairies of color, presents Black. Scruffy has a round snout and little wings and is green with pink spots. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 41.4% of actual size.)

Unconditional love prevails—under a thick coating of pink. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2919-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.


A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Exciting artwork paired with disappointingly dull text.


Rhyming verses about kindness using a consistent metaphor of widening cracks versus blooming plants are amplified by cutouts on each page.

The art and layout are spectacular, from the cover through the double-page spreads near the end. Racially diverse toddlers are shown engaging in various moods and behaviors, some of which create unhappiness and some of which lead to friendship and happiness. Every page’s color palette and composition perfectly complement the narrative. The initial verso shows two children in aggressive stances, backgrounded by a dark, partly moonlit sky. Between them is a slender, crooked cutout. The large-type text reads: “It all / starts / with a / crack / that we can hardly see. / It happens when we shout / or if we disagree.” The recto shows two children in sunlight, with one offering a pretty leaf to the other, and the rhyme addresses the good that grows from kindness. In this image, the crooked die cut forms the trunk of a tiny sapling. Until the final double-page spreads, the art follows this clever setup: dark deeds and a crack on the left, and good deeds and a growing tree on the right. Unfortunately, the text is far from the equal of the art: It is banal and preachy, and it does not even scan well without some effort on the part of whomever is reading it. Still, the youngest children will solemnly agree with the do’s and don’ts, and they may decide to memorize a page or two.

Exciting artwork paired with disappointingly dull text. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68010-229-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet