This celebration of renewable power is all about the manic pixie wind girl.

THE BOY AND THE WILD BLUE GIRL

Who’s gusting around town and cheerfully blowing things hither and yon?

Poul’s “curious about the wild blue girl.” Poul, a redheaded white boy, stands holding a pinwheel while another kid disappears off the page nearby—someone with streaming blue hair and blue pants with blue suspenders. In fact, everything about her is blue, including her big blue grin and the blue rosiness of her cheeks (her skin is the white of the background paper). She’s the same size as Poul, but her strength and influence aren’t: Everywhere she goes, hats and flowers blow away, hair gusts sideways, and no pile of leaves is safe. The townspeople, a multiracial group, consider her “a nuisance,” but Poul adores her and sets out researching her powers, “study[ing] and measure[ing], test[ing] and buil[ding].” He erects a windmill—for she is, of course, the wind. Negley’s watercolor pencils and cut-paper collage (of solid paper, patterned paper, and newsprint) create a breezy, buoyant setting with ample air and an exuberant feeling even during the (mild) chaos. The text never identifies the wild blue girl as the wind, but readers will get it. However, what they won’t understand, unless they already know about windmills, is the turbine Poul builds. The art shows turbines, but neither art nor text explains a thing about them (until the author’s note introduces 19th-century Danish scientist/inventor Poul la Cour).

This celebration of renewable power is all about the manic pixie wind girl. (historical photograph) (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-284680-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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A visual feast teeming with life.

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A FLOWER?

A young urbanite romps through floral fields and deep into a flower’s anatomy, exploring humanity’s connection to nature.

A solo car travels away from the dense, gray cityscape. Mountains rise up, full of pattern and light, before revealing a fluorescent field of flowers. A child bursts from the car across the page, neon-rainbow hair streaming in the wind, as both child and place radiate joy and life. The brown-skinned, blue-eyed youngster breathes in the meadow and begins an adventure—part Jamberry, part “Thumbelina,” and part existential journey as the child realizes the life force running through the veins of the flower is the same that runs through all of us, from the water that sustains to the sun that grows. Harris’ colored-pencil illustrations are full of energy and spontaneity. His use of patterning and graphic symbology evoke Oaxacan design, yet the style is all his own. The text is equally enthusiastic: “Have you ever seen / a flower so deep / you had to shout / HELLO / and listen for an echo / just to know / how deep it goes?” The text shifts abruptly from metaphor to metaphor, in one spread the flower likened to a palace and a few pages later, to human anatomy. Nevertheless, like the protagonist and the natural environment, readers will feel themselves stretch and bloom.

A visual feast teeming with life. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4521-8270-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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