A clever tale packed with wry wit and charming illustrations.

PRINCESS CORA AND THE CROCODILE

Princess Cora, tired of her young life as a queen-in-training, asks her fairy godmother for a pet—with unexpected results.

When Princess Cora was born, the King and Queen (both white, like their daughter) exclaim over her perfection. But the realization that Cora will someday be queen turns their delight into an obsessive diligence in training Cora in dull topics punctuated by tedious exercise. Add the three-baths-a-day regime that her nanny (also white) insists on, and Cora is now one unhappy princess. Denied a pet dog, Cora writes an appeal to her fairy godmother, and the next morning finds a box at the foot of her bed containing a large crocodile. Schlitz’s dry humor is on gleeful display as the crocodile, switching places with Cora (so she can have a day off), evens the score on her behalf with the King, Queen, and nanny. The crocodile’s antics are juxtaposed against Cora’s pastoral day and enhanced by Floca’s ink, watercolor, and gouache illustrations, which superbly amplify the story’s emotional arc. All ends happily. And the crocodile? He may or may not be living in the lily pond, but Princess Cora tosses in cream puffs (the croc’s favorite thing besides chewing on people) whenever she walks her new pet dog, just in case he is.

A clever tale packed with wry wit and charming illustrations. (Illustrated fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4822-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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