A tongue-in-cheek fractured fairy tale for those who like a little naughty with their nice.

CINDERELLA'S STEPSISTER AND THE BIG BAD WOLF

Carey and Blanco look at a favorite fairy tale from a new angle.

Everyone knows about Cinderella’s evil stepmother and two nasty stepsisters, but there is actually a third stepsister, and the story has it all wrong: while there is one girl who does all the work while the rest laze about, it isn’t Cinderella. It’s Gertie, whose niceness and bright smile are the opposite of what her family, the Uglys, wants. So, when the invitation to the ball arrives, of course they can’t let her go without making her take lessons in villainy first from some of the best. But Gertie can’t stand by and let the Wicked Queen (from “Snow White”) and the Worst Witch (“Hansel and Gretel”) do their stuff, so off to the big bad Wolf she goes for more tutoring. In several twists readers won’t see coming, Gertie and the Wolf team up and meet the Fairy Godmother, Cinderella gets taught a lesson in manners, and the Wolf—well, let’s just say she gets what she wanted all along. The muted palette and look of Blanco’s digital illustrations give them a retro feel, and the whole vibe is somewhat French—from the street of row houses where the family lives to the beret jauntily perched on Gertie’s head.

A tongue-in-cheek fractured fairy tale for those who like a little naughty with their nice. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8005-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

WHAT THE ROAD SAID

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

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 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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