While it is rare and refreshing to see a lesbian couple appear in a picture book outside the context of motherhood, the love...

PRINCESS LI / LA PRINCESA LI

From the Égalité series

This bilingual Spanish/English picture book celebrates an interracial love affair between two women.

Princess Li lives with her father, King Wan Tan, in a generic East Asian country where she frolics with a white woman, the red-haired, green-eyed Beatrice. When she refuses to choose a husband, the palace sorcerer obeys the outraged king’s demands, turning Beatrice into a bird. The two lovers are finally given Wan Tan’s permission to marry, however, after Beatrice-the-bird saves the king from being poisoned by the deceitful sorcerer. Repetitive, awkward prose (perhaps due to the translation) and cluttered, oddly distorted illustrations mar this already emotionally flat book that lacks either the visceral power of traditional folklore or the empowering message of modern tales. Although the moral is explicitly spelled out at the end (“Isn’t love more important than anything?”), readers are left with many questions both plot-related and philosophical. Why would a sorcerer so powerful need to resort to something as obvious as poison? Why must the author emphasize Li’s attractiveness to men? Why does the author repeatedly mention the same-sex aspect of the relationship but only obliquely refer to race (“Both were very different”)?

While it is rare and refreshing to see a lesbian couple appear in a picture book outside the context of motherhood, the love affair between Li and Beatrice isn’t likely to extend to their readers. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-84-944137-4-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: nubeOCHO

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

WE ARE IN A BOOK!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Stalwart friends Piggie and Gerald the elephant push the metafictive envelope in a big way when they realize that "someone is looking at us." Is it a monster? worries Gerald. "No," replies the squinting Piggie. "It is... / a reader! / A reader is reading us!" How? wonders Gerald. Piggie drapes herself on a word bubble to demonstrate: "We are in a book!" "THAT IS SO COOL!" Joy leads to a little bit of clever practical joking—Piggie figures out how to make the readers say "banana" out loud, and hilarity ensues—which gives way to existential angst: "The book ends?!" exclaims an appalled Gerald. Emergent readers just beginning to grapple one-on-one with the rules of the printed codex will find the friends' antics both funny and provocative: Just who is in control here, anyway? As always, Willems displays his customary control of both body language and pacing even as he challenges his readers to engage with his characters and the physicality of their book . The friends' solution to the book's imminent end? "Hello. Will you please read us again?" You bet. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4231-3308-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

Did you like this book?

more