Feisty, compassionate, and independently minded—Princess DisGrace comes into her own

THE DRAGON DANCE

From the Princess DisGrace series , Vol. 2

In her second term at Tall Towers Princess Academy, Princess Grace bucks the rules and tackles adventures.

Eschewing the cloying princess/feminine stereotypes that marred the first book, Kuenzler here gives Princess Grace—still clumsy and still tormented by her mean-girl blonde cousin Princess Precious—a mind of her own. When Grace befriends Hetty, the motherless niece of the school’s gamekeeper, and gives her riding lessons on Billy, Grace’s unicorn, she knows she is breaking the only-princesses-are-allowed-to-ride-unicorns rule, but she doesn’t care. Instead, she questions the rules themselves. Riding one day, the two girls discover an abandoned baby dragon. Although they know that princesses are a dragon’s favorite food, they smuggle milk (Grace matter-of-factly milks a cow to get the milk) to the dragon and it thrives. Threading through this adventure is the looming spring ballet dance, which Grace is dreading, since she is not, to put it mildly, graceful. While her best friends from Book 1, Izumi and Scarlet, practice their dances, Grace, thinking she needs to keep the dragon a secret from them, eludes them. Misunderstandings that illuminate touching and familiar adolescent insecurities ensue. The dramatic conclusion of this engaging and tightly plotted story celebrates community and friendship. Scott’s spot illustrations add a lighthearted tone but show minimal racial diversity; save for Asian-coded Izumi, the significant characters are mostly white.

Feisty, compassionate, and independently minded—Princess DisGrace comes into her own . (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-53782-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock”...

THE SINGING ROCK & OTHER BRAND-NEW FAIRY TALES

The theme of persistence (for better or worse) links four tales of magic, trickery, and near disasters.

Lachenmeyer freely borrows familiar folkloric elements, subjecting them to mildly comical twists. In the nearly wordless “Hip Hop Wish,” a frog inadvertently rubs a magic lamp and finds itself saddled with an importunate genie eager to shower it with inappropriate goods and riches. In the title tale, an increasingly annoyed music-hating witch transforms a persistent minstrel into a still-warbling cow, horse, sheep, goat, pig, duck, and rock in succession—then is horrified to catch herself humming a tune. Athesius the sorcerer outwits Warthius, a rival trying to steal his spells via a parrot, by casting silly ones in Ig-pay Atin-lay in the third episode, and in the finale, a painter’s repeated efforts to create a flattering portrait of an ogre king nearly get him thrown into a dungeon…until he suddenly understands what an ogre’s idea of “flattering” might be. The narratives, dialogue, and sound effects leave plenty of elbow room in Blocker’s big, brightly colored panels for the expressive animal and human(ish) figures—most of the latter being light skinned except for the golden genie, the blue ogre, and several people of color in the “Sorcerer’s New Pet.”

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock” music. (Graphic short stories. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59643-750-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more