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

PICCADILLY AND THE FAIRY POLKA

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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Only for dedicated fans of the series.

HOW TO CATCH A MONSTER

From the How To Catch… series

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

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 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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