Cheerful, busy illustrations make this gentle fantasy exciting.


Piccadilly and the Waltzing Wind

From the Piccadilly's Magical World series , Vol. 2

A little imagination transforms everyday objects into wonders in this sweet picture book.

Novelline (Piccadilly and the Fairy Polka, 2014) teams with debut illustrator Hwang for this second series adventure, which retains the charm and general look of the first installment while telling a crisper, more focused story. Piccadilly, a pigtailed little girl with big, blue eyes, wishes that soap bubbles lasted longer so that she could “fill the sky with rainbows!” Dad explains that the “breeze might be too strong today,” and Piccadilly notices the blowing leaves, which, to her, look like acorn-capped, male and female ballet dancers with autumn-leaf wings, pants, and skirts. “I want to dance with the wind!” Piccadilly cries, but then she lands in a leaf pile, disappointed. When falling acorns “tippity-tup” on her head, Piccadilly meets a squirrel named Sir Bartleby, and she sadly concludes that “the wind didn’t dance with you either.” But Piccadilly doesn’t give up. The next morning, as multicolored, sparkly swirls of wind blow through her windows, Piccadilly works on a kite. Outside, her finished creation takes on “a fancy of its own,” spiraling into the air until Piccadilly takes flight, still wearing her bunny slippers. She soars joyfully among leaves, sparkles, and fairies until the wind places her back on the ground, where she and Sir Bartleby find that the wind has arranged a perfect pile of acorns. Children will enjoy poring over Hwang’s dense, cartoony illustrations, which are packed with color, patterns, and surprises. Young readers will likely try to spot all the fairies in these images; adults, however, may wish that the book had a bit more visual breathing room. Novelline’s language is just as bright and bouncy as the illustrations, with fun-to-read-aloud sound effects (such as “Whoovity Whee!”) and just the right balance of description and dialogue. The slight story with its low-stakes conflict creates a safe yet engaging adventure for very young children and other sensitive readers.

Cheerful, busy illustrations make this gentle fantasy exciting.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9835311-4-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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


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

Did you like this book?

Thought-provoking and charming.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • New York Times Bestseller


A sophisticated robot—with the capacity to use senses of sight, hearing, and smell—is washed to shore on an island, the only robot survivor of a cargo of 500.

When otters play with her protective packaging, the robot is accidently activated. Roz, though without emotions, is intelligent and versatile. She can observe and learn in service of both her survival and her principle function: to help. Brown links these basic functions to the kind of evolution Roz undergoes as she figures out how to stay dry and intact in her wild environment—not easy, with pine cones and poop dropping from above, stormy weather, and a family of cranky bears. She learns to understand and eventually speak the language of the wild creatures (each species with its different “accent”). An accident leaves her the sole protector of a baby goose, and Roz must ask other creatures for help to shelter and feed the gosling. Roz’s growing connection with her environment is sweetly funny, reminiscent of Randall Jarrell’s The Animal Family. At every moment Roz’s actions seem plausible and logical yet surprisingly full of something like feeling. Robot hunters with guns figure into the climax of the story as the outside world intrudes. While the end to Roz’s benign and wild life is startling and violent, Brown leaves Roz and her companions—and readers—with hope.

Thought-provoking and charming. (Science fiction/fantasy. 7-11)

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-38199-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?