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From the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series

Guaranteed to get readers giggling (and scratching)

In the latest Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! title, a troupe of dinosaurs confronts an existential quandary.

“Dinosaurs do not scratch” reads the legend on a rock behind a napping tortoise. A bespectacled dino in T-shirt and shorts muses, “You learn something new every day.” It observes a triceratops about to scratch a scab and stops it: “Dinosaurs are TOUGH! We do not scratch!” It similarly corrects a pterodactyl with a bee sting, a sauropod with an itchy back, and a T. Rex with an irritating tag in the collar of its shirt. Demonstrating its toughness, it submits to various itch-producing indignities, including a wool sweater, “hair from my last haircut,” and a cat, and despite obviously mounting distress does not scratch. At this point, the tortoise gets up and moves away, revealing a concluding “alone” etched in the rock. Naturally, all the discussion of itching and not scratching has caused everyone to feel “ITCHY!”; happily, these dinosaurs are not alone, so they indulge in a massive orgy of scratching, the relief it brings signaled with cool blues that replace the itchy reds that had predominated. The silly premise and equally silly treatment are carried out in the series’ signature format, color-coded speech bubbles providing cues to both speakers and mood. The question of “why dinosaurs do not scratch alone” is never answered, but that’s hardly the point.

Guaranteed to get readers giggling (and scratching) . (Early reader. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-00564-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2018

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

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 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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