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MUSHROOM LULLABY

A mycological charmer.

This bedtime fantasy features an intimate glimpse into the imagined world of fungi.

Short sentences, lilting rhymes, and harmonious visuals help viewers grasp the subject matter: “This is a mushroom that grows in the park. / This is a mushroom that glows in the dark.” Kraegel invites readers in by showing a homey mushroom dwelling and switching to the second person; since the “you” is never depicted, all will feel included. Friends are welcome, too: A snail, caterpillar, ladybug, and butterflies visit. They play volleyball, strategize chess moves, and sip lemonade under the flowers. A nearly square trim size and ink-and-watercolor compositions with an abundance of curves and rounded shapes create a setting filled with quiet joy and a sense of security. Stippling and other surface patterns provide texture and gradations of light. As the day winds down, the warm palette becomes even more intense, with glowing embers in the fireplace and deep orange-red walls and décor. The cozy interior is filled with neatly arranged toys, books, musical instruments, and stuffed animals. Stars and the moon are visible through the circular window, and as the view pans out to portray a community of mushroom homes in all their glorious variety, listeners learn that while it is time to “turn out the light,” they are wished “sweet dreams, / a soft rest… // and a very good night.” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A mycological charmer. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1941-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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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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I'LL LOVE YOU FOREVER

Parent-child love and affection, appealingly presented, with the added attraction of the seasonal content and lack of gender...

A polar-bear parent speaks poetically of love for a child.

A genderless adult and cub travel through the landscapes of an arctic year. Each of the softly rendered double-page paintings has a very different feel and color palette as the pair go through the seasons, walking through wintry ice and snow and green summer meadows, cavorting in the blue ocean, watching whales, and playing beside musk oxen. The rhymes of the four-line stanzas are not forced, as is the case too often in picture books of this type: “When cold, winter winds / blow the leaves far and wide, / You’ll cross the great icebergs / with me by your side.” On a dark, snowy night, the loving parent says: “But for now, cuddle close / while the stars softly shine. // I’ll always be yours, / and you’ll always be mine.” As the last illustration shows the pair curled up for sleep, young listeners will be lulled to sweet dreams by the calm tenor of the pictures and the words. While far from original, this timeless theme is always in demand, and the combination of delightful illustrations and poetry that scans well make this a good choice for early-childhood classrooms, public libraries, and one-on-one home read-alouds.

Parent-child love and affection, appealingly presented, with the added attraction of the seasonal content and lack of gender restrictions. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68010-070-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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