Readers will respond to this confident, can-do girl who demonstrates that magical adventures are easy to create.

READ REVIEW

I AM A SUPER GIRL!

From the Princess Truly series , Vol. 1

Princess Truly returns…to save the day.

In this third book about Princess Truly—and the first chapter book—the brown-skinned protagonist, who wears a red cape, a purple tutu, and magical white buttoned boots, attends the first-birthday party of her friend Lizzie’s cat, Waffles. When the exuberant Waffles crashes into the fish-shaped cake, Princess Truly calls on her “magic curls,” (styled into two sparkling puff-balls) to make a beautiful new one. During the party, Waffles gets tangled in the balloon strings and floats out the window, with Noodles, Truly’s trusty pug, holding on. Truly can save the pets, but only with Lizzie’s help. Lizzie panics, knowing she has no magic or extraordinary strength, but Truly convinces her that her smarts, bravery, and belief in herself are enough to do the job. Young readers who admire Black Panther but need to see superheroes as young as they are will enjoy not only Princess Truly’s magic hair and flightworthy boots, but also her confidence, creativity, and supportive attitude toward others. Rauscher’s pastel-colored watercolor images give readers plenty of details to find—especially animals behaving uncharacteristically. A page in the backmatter provides brief directions for readers to draw Princess Truly and write their own adventure stories.

Readers will respond to this confident, can-do girl who demonstrates that magical adventures are easy to create. (Fantasy. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33998-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Acorn/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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THIS BOOK IS GRAY

A gray character tries to write an all-gray book.

The six primary and secondary colors are building a rainbow, each contributing the hue of their own body, and Gray feels forlorn and left out because rainbows contain no gray. So Gray—who, like the other characters, has a solid, triangular body, a doodle-style face, and stick limbs—sets off alone to create “the GRAYest book ever.” His book inside a book shows a peaceful gray cliff house near a gray sea with gentle whitecaps; his three gray characters—hippo, wolf, kitten—wait for their arc to begin. But then the primaries arrive and call the gray scene “dismal, bleak, and gloomy.” The secondaries show up too, and soon everyone’s overrunning Gray’s creation. When Gray refuses to let White and Black participate, astute readers will note the flaw: White and black (the colors) had already been included in the early all-gray spreads. Ironically, Gray’s book within a book displays calm, passable art while the metabook’s unsubtle illustrations and sloppy design make for cramped and crowded pages that are too busy to hold visual focus. The speech-bubble dialogue’s snappy enough (Blue calls people “dude,” and there are puns). A convoluted moral muddles the core artistic question—whether a whole book can be gray—and instead highlights a trite message about working together.

Low grade. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4340-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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