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OSCAR THE HUNGRY UNICORN

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

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 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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I AM A BIG BROTHER

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

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 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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