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THE BOY AND THE WILD BLUE GIRL

This celebration of renewable power is all about the manic pixie wind 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. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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IZZY GIZMO AND THE INVENTION CONVENTION

From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

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

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 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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