This anarchic tale will tickle some readers, but it is far from enchanting.

OSCAR THE HUNGRY UNICORN

Oscar the unicorn forcibly eats his way through various fairy tales before finding a welcoming home with a unicorn-loving princess.

In this droll, twisted tale, Oscar, a rotund, cartoon-style unicorn complete with cotton-candy–pink body and majestically sparkly rainbow mane, looks like just another horned charmer. But a second glance at Oscar’s stony, half-lidded eyes shows that he isn’t quite so sweet after all—and isn’t quite so easy to empathize with either. The ever ravenous Oscar has eaten his stable and sets off to find a new home in a fairy-tale land, but wherever he wanders he wreaks havoc. There are entertaining scenes in the deadpan narrative: a young witch hiding in her gingerbread house; lights twinkling inside Oscar’s belly after he eats the decorations of a dragon discotheque; or discombobulated fairies whisking him away from their half-eaten toadstool homes. Still, its subversive humor edges toward mean-spirited. While there’s a certain amount of giggles due to its veering from the conventional sweet-unicorn story, this is essentially a running gag about a terrorizing, farting unicorn illustrated in oversaturated colors. The ending, in which a young princess with pale skin and purple hair on a speedboat rescues Oscar from trolls and makes him her willing pet by feeding him enormous amounts of treats, is anticlimactic.

This anarchic tale will tickle some readers, but it is far from enchanting. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-40835-953-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool.

PETE THE KITTY'S FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL

From the Pete the Cat series

The popular character enjoys storytime, painting, and a snack on the very first day of preschool.

The younger incarnation of Pete the Cat packs his backpack that he picked out from the store himself, gets a snack from his mom, and rides the school bus with his big brother, Bob (who isn’t much bigger than Pete, sizewise). At school, Pete meets his stylish teacher, Mrs. Lopez, and fellow feline classmates while keeping his signature cool. The day ends with Pete declaring: “Preschool is awesome! Pete loves everything!” James Dean’s big-eyed cats populate the simply drawn scenes that look as though they were painted in preschool-esque fashion with thick swaths of tempera. At a couple of moments (when he eats his banana and declares it tasty and when he sings along) his customarily expressionless face actually breaks into a smile. Kimberly Dean’s text is uninspired, but it’s in sync with the upbeat tone of the series. Pete’s preschool experience, while not particularly realistic, is a highly positive one; refreshingly, there is no trace of the separation anxiety or anxiousness found in many first-day-of-school books.

Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06243582-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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