An overall unremarkable entry in the growing number of picture books championing girl power.

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NOTHING WEE ABOUT ME!

A MAGICAL ADVENTURE

A tale about the transformative power of imagination and self-confidence.

Liesel loves visiting Grandma Rose because adventure is never more than the clutch of her grandmother’s old ladle away. Today, the ladle and Liesel’s imagination take her to an island that’s simultaneously inhabited by pirates, terrorized by a dragon, and threatened by an active volcano. She’s determined to save the day, and indeed she does, at least temporarily: She plugs the active volcano with a gigantic coconut, preventing it from erupting. However, the obstacles in her path are disappointingly one-dimensional, as the pirate captain and dragon who question what a “wee girl” like Liesel is capable of both back down quickly once she asserts that “THERE’S NOTHING WEE ABOUT ME!” The text’s repetition of the word “wee” feels out of place within the contemporary setting and in the face of Liesel’s confidence. Similarly, Liesel’s choice of a ladle, of all things, could imply either a reinforcement or a reclaiming of spaces and tools stereotypically associated with women. Grandma Rose’s somewhat dismissive attitude of Liesel’s confidence suggests that her choice of a ladle is less than radical. While the text often tells rather than shows, the soft, sketchy illustrations actively support the text by providing additional visual information. The three human characters all have pale skin and light-colored hair while the island residents appear as anthropomorphic lions, pigs, rabbits, chickens, and turtles.

An overall unremarkable entry in the growing number of picture books championing girl power. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62414-692-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Only for dedicated fans of the series.

HOW TO CATCH A MONSTER

From the How to Catch… series

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures.

PIPPA'S NIGHT PARADE

Pippa conquers a fear of the creatures that emerge from her storybooks at night.

Pippa’s “wonderfully wild imagination” can sometimes run “a little TOO wild.” During the day, she wears her “armor” and is a force to be reckoned with. But in bed at night, Pippa worries about “villains and monsters and beasts.” Sharp-toothed and -taloned shadows, dragons, and pirates emerge from her storybooks like genies from a bottle, just to scare her. Pippa flees to her parents’ room only to be brought back time and again. Finally, Pippa decides that she “needs a plan” to “get rid of them once and for all.” She decides to slip a written invitation into every book, and that night, they all come out. She tries subduing them with a lasso, an eye patch, and a sombrero, but she is defeated. Next, she tries “sashes and sequins and bows,” throwing the fashion pieces on the monsters, who…“begin to pose and primp and preen.” After that success, their fashion show becomes a nightly ritual. Clever Pippa’s transformation from scared victim of her own imagination to leader of the monster pack feels fairly sudden, but it’s satisfying nonetheless. The cartoony illustrations effectively use dynamic strokes, shadow, and light to capture action on the page and the feeling of Pippa's fears taking over her real space. Pippa and her parents are brown-skinned with curls of various textures.

A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9300-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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