An action-packed story for young inventors with troubling gender treatment.

READ REVIEW

THE AWESOME, IMPOSSIBLE, UNSTOPPABLE GADGET

Letters written home from a futuristic camp record big doings.

Bold animation-style illustrations bring Camp C.R.E.A.T.E. and its Gadgets Galore Competition to life. One camper nicknamed Professor von Junk “gets an idea for a gadget so clever / that everyone wants to help put it together.” Everyone, that is, except the letter writer, who thinks “helping is nice, but I want to come up / with my own cool device.” Once the competition begins, the protagonist can’t even get into the crowded lab. Discouraged but resilient, the kid creates a separate lab and develops an invention that, sadly, seems only to work in reverse. But Professor von Junk’s invention has a major flaw, too, creating chaos. Luckily, the letter writer’s invention saves the day. On the final page, the victor is honored with the name Professor O’Toole. Readers might notice O’Toole’s stylized pigtails, but only by reading the jacket flap will readers confirm the narrator is a female named Trixie (O’Toole). Is this a subtle book about girl power? In the future, could scientific ability be viewed without regard to gender? Perhaps, but this story has only one other implied female camper (a ponytailed kid named Lovelace) plus stereotypical references to Trixie’s “cute little cabin” and glitter-decorated invention. Bafflingly, the rhyming text is not consistently set as such. All the campers are green humanoid children.

An action-packed story for young inventors with troubling gender treatment. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-19511-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE PEOPLE

A monohued tally of positive character traits.

Purple is a “magic color,” affirm the authors (both actors, though Hart’s name recognition is nowhere near the level of Bell’s), and “purple people” are the sort who ask questions, laugh wholeheartedly, work hard, freely voice feelings and opinions, help those who might “lose” their own voices in the face of unkindness, and, in sum, can “JUST BE (the real) YOU.” Unlike the obsessive protagonist of Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious franchise, being a purple person has “nothing to do with what you look like”—a point that Wiseman underscores with scenes of exuberantly posed cartoon figures (including versions of the authors) in casual North American attire but sporting a wide range of ages, skin hues, and body types. A crowded playground at the close (no social distancing here) displays all this wholesome behavior in action. Plenty of purple highlights, plus a plethora of broad smiles and wide-open mouths, crank up the visual energy—and if the earnest overall tone doesn’t snag the attention of young audiences, a grossly literal view of the young narrator and a grandparent “snot-out-our-nose laughing” should do the trick. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12196-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more