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A deeply satisfying allegorical tale.

An arrogant king with a long, golden beard meets his demise thanks to his own vanity.

Set “a long long time ago, when most people still believed the earth was flat as a pancake,” this biting political commentary from Belgium features a megalomaniacal king so in love with his flowing beard that he establishes certain laws: It must never be trimmed, and others’ facial hair is forbidden—even the goats must be shaved daily. Growing so long, his beard makes its way around the world and back to the king, where no one recognizes it as the king’s. Ordering his guards to cut to pieces the owner of the beard (“After all, the law was the law”), the king perishes with the snip of “a pinchy pair of nail scissors,” one of the story’s moments of delightful alliteration. (Clearly, Verplancke isn’t afraid of a little implied gore.) The serpentine line of the king’s beard, on a palette of teal and mustard hues, propels this story, and the beard is so finely detailed that one can see nearly every hair. Readers never see the king’s face in its entirety; it’s his blond beard that looms large. Verplancke, who also designed the book, gets playful with font and weight of type (often to accentuate the king’s ego and his demands) and perspectives; more than once, readers turn the book sideways or upside down to follow the king’s beard across the planet. Townsfolk and guards are depicted in varying shades, many not natural. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 75% of actual size.)

A deeply satisfying allegorical tale. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: March 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66265-039-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Maria Russo/Minedition

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists.

How to raise money for a coveted poster: put your friends to work!

John, founder of the FUBU fashion line and a Shark Tank venture capitalist, offers a self-referential blueprint for financial success. Having only half of the $10 he needs for a Minka J poster, Daymond forks over $1 to buy a plain T-shirt, paints a picture of the pop star on it, sells it for $5, and uses all of his cash to buy nine more shirts. Then he recruits three friends to decorate them with his design and help sell them for an unspecified amount (from a conveniently free and empty street-fair booth) until they’re gone. The enterprising entrepreneur reimburses himself for the shirts and splits the remaining proceeds, which leaves him with enough for that poster as well as a “brand-new business book,” while his friends express other fiscal strategies: saving their share, spending it all on new art supplies, or donating part and buying a (math) book with the rest. (In a closing summation, the author also suggests investing in stocks, bonds, or cryptocurrency.) Though Miles cranks up the visual energy in her sparsely detailed illustrations by incorporating bright colors and lots of greenbacks, the actual advice feels a bit vague. Daymond is Black; most of the cast are people of color. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-56727-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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