Similarly opulent renditions abound, but this is as good as any for parents wishing to introduce Frozen-mad children to the...



Between padded covers, a lightly compressed version of Andersen’s frosty classic is paired to lushly detailed illustrations enhanced by scattered flaps and movable bits.

Though she clears away much of the slushy sentiment as well as the angels, the prayers, the robber maiden’s knife and most of the talking flowers (and the Lapp woman), Woodward leaves all the major characters, plus the distinctive “girl sets out to rescue captive boy” plot, intact. Along with adding back a few angels at the beginning, Sumberac goes on to place marionettelike figures sporting oversized eyes and big, frizzy hair into settings that are positively encrusted with ice and snow crystals or with seasonal arrays of exactly rendered flora, fauna and fungi. The effect is not so much bland or cloying as theatrically sumptuous, and the illustrations are so thick with fine detail that the small die-cut flaps on occasional spreads are hard to spot even though they come with discreetly placed instructions to “lift.” More visible is the two-sided spinner and a pull tab that causes the “sprite’s” mirror to explode and on the next spread propels Kay and Gerda into view. The closing pop-up view of the two children kneeling over the “Eternity” sign in the Snow Queen’s icy hall is suitably dramatic (if on the flimsy side). The lengthy text demands either an independent reader or a very dedicated grown-up.

Similarly opulent renditions abound, but this is as good as any for parents wishing to introduce Frozen-mad children to the Disney movie’s original. (annotated list of characters) (Pop-up picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-78312-015-4

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Barron's

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.


From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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When Bibi, her first and favorite babysitter, moves away, it takes all of August for 8-year-old Eleanor to get beyond her sense of loss and get used to a new caretaker. Her parents grieve, too; her mother even takes some time off work. But, as is inevitable in a two-income family, eventually a new sitter appears. Natalie is sensible and understanding. They find new activities to do together, including setting up a lemonade stand outside Eleanor’s Brooklyn apartment building, waiting for Val, the mail carrier, and taking pictures of flowers with Natalie’s camera. Gradually Eleanor adjusts, September comes, her new teacher writes a welcoming letter, her best friend returns from summer vacation and third grade starts smoothly. Best of all, Val brings a loving letter from Bibi in Florida. While the story is relatively lengthy, each chapter is a self-contained episode, written simply and presented in short lines, accessible to those still struggling with the printed word. Cordell’s gray-scale line drawings reflect the action and help break up the text on almost every page. This first novel is a promising debut. Eleanor’s concerns, not only about her babysitter, but also about playmates, friends and a new school year will be familiar to readers, who will look forward to hearing more about her life. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8109-8424-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

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