Unconditional love prevails—under a thick coating of pink.

TWINKLE'S FAIRY PET DAY

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

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A sweet, simple story with a nicely offbeat heroine.

THE FRIEND SHIP

All the animals are welcome to come aboard.

Hedgehog seems very lonely, “curled up in a prickly little ball in a lonely little nook of a lonely little tree.” When she overhears a sympathetic conversation about friendship “out there,” she perks up, picturing a beautiful “Friend Ship.” Hedgehog sets sail with a curious beaver in a small boat to find it. Before long, the duo spots a herd of migrating deer on the shore. Hedgehog asks if they’ve seen the Friend Ship; all reply that they could use a friend and hop aboard. Next, the company spies a rat, who asks to join them. They sail in multiple directions to no avail. Hedgehog begins to lose hope, but her companions convince her to persist. She spots a small island, its only resident an elephant. Hedgehog swims the distance and asks the elephant about the Friend Ship. The elephant points at Hedgehog’s small boat full of animals and asks, “Isn’t that it—right over there?” It’s a lightning-bolt moment. Hedgehog invites the elephant aboard, and they sail west, celebrating all the while…into the sunset together. Yeh makes effective use of dialogue and repetition, investing her characters with personality with just a few lines. Groenink employs sunny, warm hues that increase in saturation as the boat fills and Hedgehog becomes surrounded by friends.

A sweet, simple story with a nicely offbeat heroine. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-0726-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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Exciting artwork paired with disappointingly dull text.

KINDNESS GROWS

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

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