Young readers will never think about vegetables the same way again.

ALIEN TOMATO

Veggies aren’t just good for you: They know stuff, too.

Take the garden denizens who believe the strange red orb that lands among them is an alien tomato! A resident gopher thinks differently and tries vainly to change their minds. The vegetables wonder how to deal with the newcomer—is it dangerous?—and decide to be friendly and welcoming. Allie, the name they give the visitor, doesn’t respond. The gopher knows why, shouting with exasperation: “It’s just a red ball!” The veggies ignore the gopher and throw a party, giving Allie a crown. Under cover of night, the jealous rodent secretes Allie in its underground lair and hides the crown. The bewildered vegetables can only conclude Allie returned to her planet. Meanwhile, the gopher covertly plays with the “red ball” until…the final satisfying twist awards the gopher a comeuppance and proves the veggies right. This comical tale will captivate readers with its animated protagonists and surprising ending. The veggies zing with lively personalities and expressiveness, conveyed in both cartoon faces and speech bubbles, and the mammalian buttinski is a know-it-all hoot. The adorable illustrations of plant foods—broccoli, asparagus, peas, radishes, carrots, beans, and others—may encourage even greens-averse kids to think of them more positively (and, perhaps, try them). Allie is equally fun in “her” stolidity and in pulling off that who-would-have-guessed-it feat.

Young readers will never think about vegetables the same way again. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62414-976-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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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

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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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