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Warmly and tenderly conveys the comfort of sharing the lore of days gone by.

Reality and stories blend in this tale of the bond between a boy and his grandmother.

Griffin’s grandmother—referred to as the Storyteller—nurtures him with “milk, fresh-baked bread and all kinds of stories. Folktales, fairy tales, legends. And Griffin’s favorite—family lore.” His grandmother tells him about her best friend, a cat who could talk, and how she confronted bullies who mocked her “because her house looked like a shoe.” Soft, realistic illustrations depict a retro-style house and village, with Griffin looking on at people and animals from famous tales, many tiny and doll-like: Rapunzel peering out of a tower-esque teapot, the protagonist of “Jack and the Beanstalk” scaling a flower. Griffin and his grandmother are always together until the older woman weakens and begins to fade. Griffin must preserve the Storyteller’s vitality. Following Jack’s lead, he sells his toy cow for magic beans (which resemble jellybeans) and grows an impressive beanstalk. Before his grandmother climbs it—a moving, inspired metaphor for her death—she leaves him with a few words: “Keep the stories alive, my love.” Griffin, in due course, passes her words on to the next generation, re-creating the powerful cycle of keeping stories alive. Brief but potent text is paired with illustrations that exude a sense of magic and the joy of storytelling. Griffin and the Storyteller present white; other characters are diverse.

Warmly and tenderly conveys the comfort of sharing the lore of days gone by. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 5, 2024

ISBN: 9780593109588

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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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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