In Dana’s debut picture book, one haughty doll learns that being pretty isn’t everything.

Nothing makes little Tasha happier than her four dolls: Emily-Nicole, Chloë-Anne, Lilly-Kate and Gracie. Emily-Nicole is the most beautiful doll of all; with snowy skin, lustrous red locks, turquoise eyes and long eyelashes, she stands tall and proud on Tasha’s bookshelf. But it’s Gracie, Tasha’s other favorite doll, that snuggles up with Tasha when the lights go out at bedtime. Gracie isn’t a beautiful doll like Emily-Nicole; she has spiky hair, purple eyes and a missing arm thanks to Tasha’s hungry dog. While Gracie lies at Tasha’s side every night, Emily-Nicole and the other bookshelf-dwelling dolls taunt her with a song: “Pretty eyes and pretty hair. We’re the best dolls anywhere. If you were a pretty doll, you’d be up here standing tall.” Their cruel words hurt Gracie’s feelings—if only Tasha knew that her prettiest dolls weren’t so pretty on the inside. It’s only when Emily-Nicole encounters danger one afternoon that she learns an important lesson about what makes someone truly beautiful (and not just pretty). Dana’s story is familiar, but welcome, commentary on why “mean girls” never really win. Parents dealing with childhood bullying might find the dolls’ conflict resolution a bit sugarcoated—if only all bullies could be so easily redirected—but it’s a sweet, simple message that is sure to resonate with little girls everywhere—little girls who might think twice before tossing aside their own “ugly” dolls. Glossy pages and Kurt Jones’ candy-colored illustrations add to the book’s girlish aesthetic, and it will find good company on the shelf next to perennial classics like The Ugly Duckling. A positive read that encourages children to look beyond surface appearances when choosing their friends.


Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-1613464168

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Tate

Review Posted Online: Oct. 24, 2011

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...


With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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