MARA THE SPACE TRAVELER

Skip this flight of fancy.

Sleepless Mara climbs out her window onto her roof and dreams of saving another planet while on a space adventure.

First published in 2019 in Belgium and the Netherlands as Mauro de ruimtereiziger. Op zoek naar een nieuwe planeet, this simple allegory describes a visit to a beautiful garden planet. The extraterrestrials Mara meets there (tiny lizards who, curiously, morph so that they resemble her two-legged shape) tell her their concerns. The Sun King’s love is burning the garden into desert. “The garden NEEDS me!” the Sun King shouts at Mara when she goes to deliver her alien friends’ request that he look away. Happily, she escapes to an underwater realm where water creatures create a “wondrous wave” that sweeps over the desert, forcing the Sun King to back off. Mara is grateful; the aliens are grateful; and Mara sets off for home in her imagined space ship. Plans for constructing a ship as well as sketches of her alien friends are included as an afterword. In Leysen’s pastel images, Mara and all the creatures on the world she visits have wide, manga eyes. The text has been smoothly translated by the publisher. Sadly, a distracting mixture of pedestrian typefaces, both serif and sans-serif, mars the presentation. Young readers who might appreciate the voyage will be put off by the tiny print that carries much of the narrative.

Skip this flight of fancy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-60537-527-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

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

CAPTAIN AWESOME TO THE RESCUE!

From the Captain Awesome series , Vol. 1

As Captain Awesome would say, this kid is “MI-TEE!” (Fiction. 5-8)

The town of Sunnyview got a little bit safer when 8-year-old Eugene McGillicudy moved in.

Just like his comic-book mentor, Super Dude, Eugene, aka Captain Awesome, is on a one-man mission is to save the world from supervillains, like the nefarious “Queen Stinkypants from Planet Baby.” Just as Eugene suspected, plenty of new supervillains await him at Sunnyview Elementary. Are Meredith Mooney and the mind-reading Ms. Beasley secretly working together to try and force Eugene to reveal his secret identity? Will Principal Brick Foot succeed in throwing Captain Awesome into the “Dungeon of Detention?” Fortunately, Eugene isn’t forced to go it alone. Charlie Thomas Jones, fellow comic-book lover and Super Dude fan, stands ready and willing to help. When the class hamster goes missing, Captain Awesome must don his cape and, with the help of his new best friend, ride to the rescue. Kirby’s funny and engaging third-person narration and O’Connor’s hilarious illustrations make the book easily accessible and enormously appealing, particularly to readers who have recently graduated to chapter books. But it is the quirky, mischievous Eugene that really makes this book special. His energy and humor are contagious, and his dogged commitment to his superhero alter ego is enough to make anyone a believer.  

As Captain Awesome would say, this kid is “MI-TEE!” (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4090-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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