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A warm, vibrant read. It would be wonderful to hear more from Piccadilly and her family.

What do fairies like to eat? Follow the charming Piccadilly to the fairy ring and find out.

On the longest day of the year, the fairies throw a huge party and dance—what else?—the polka. Normally, people can’t see fairies, but the extra sunlight on the summer solstice is captured by the dewdrops, “which triggers a speck of summer delight…which inspires the glow of the fairies!” Or so the fairy prince eventually explains to the delighted Piccadilly, a grinning little girl with a round belly and rounder cheeks. One night, she watches her cat, Rufus, stare intently at a circle of overgrown flowers in the backyard. Probably fireflies, her mother says. But Piccadilly hears “fairy flies” and that night dreams of fairies eating cake. So the next day she enlists her brother’s help in baking a batch of cupcakes. She arranges them in a ring in the garden, right where Rufus had been staring, and unwittingly summons the fairy prince. (Or, maybe, as her mother suggests, she was just dreaming under the tree. “I wish my dreams were as fun as yours,” she says.) Piccadilly’s wide-eyed approach to everything in the world—the real world and the fairy world—is absolutely irresistible. She jumps out of bed in the morning, runs to the garden, dances, bakes, charms her family and fearlessly greets a magical creature, without the slightest skepticism. And it’s clear where little Piccadilly learned her open-mindedness: While both Mom and brother smile wryly at Piccadilly’s tales, neither one teases her or tells her she’s mistaken. What a joy to grow up in a house where fairies are welcome and treated to cake. Novelline (The Dance of Spring, 2011) winds out a story that’s complex enough to bear repeated readings. Light’s illustrations are bright and lively, with colors and shapes that evoke old-school animated films like Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. While all the characters are likable and strong, Piccadilly’s cheeks and nose steal the show.

A warm, vibrant read. It would be wonderful to hear more from Piccadilly and her family.

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0983531111

Page Count: 52

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2014

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From the Wild Robot series , Vol. 3

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant.

Robot Roz undertakes an unusual ocean journey to save her adopted island home in this third series entry.

When a poison tide flowing across the ocean threatens their island, Roz works with the resident creatures to ensure that they will have clean water, but the destruction of vegetation and crowding of habitats jeopardize everyone’s survival. Brown’s tale of environmental depredation and turmoil is by turns poignant, graceful, endearing, and inspiring, with his (mostly) gentle robot protagonist at its heart. Though Roz is different from the creatures she lives with or encounters—including her son, Brightbill the goose, and his new mate, Glimmerwing—she makes connections through her versatile communication abilities and her desire to understand and help others. When Roz accidentally discovers that the replacement body given to her by Dr. Molovo is waterproof, she sets out to seek help and discovers the human-engineered source of the toxic tide. Brown’s rich descriptions of undersea landscapes, entertaining conversations between Roz and wild creatures, and concise yet powerful explanations of the effect of the poison tide on the ecology of the island are superb. Simple, spare illustrations offer just enough glimpses of Roz and her surroundings to spark the imagination. The climactic confrontation pits oceangoing mammals, seabirds, fish, and even zooplankton against hardware and technology in a nicely choreographed battle. But it is Roz’s heroism and peacemaking that save the day.

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9780316669412

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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