An attractive blend of fairy-tale elements with self-esteem encouragement.



Told in rhyming verse, this illustrated book for kids ages 1 to 7 tells the tale of a princess with magical hair who is cursed by an unhappy troll.

A wise king and beautiful queen have a daughter they name Princess Marie Antoinette. She’s a perfect sweetheart with one noticeable difference from other babies: “The princess’s hair was magic— / the real fairy-tale stuff.” It changes color throughout the day, and though the colors are pretty, the princess’s parents are worried. A doctor prescribes “cough syrup and leeches” and warns that if Marie’s hair is cut, “she might stop being herself.” The baby’s fairy godmother arrives to reassure them that “the princess’s hair is a different affair / that comes from the magic realm.” To protect his daughter, the king declares her hair a national treasure, never to be cut. As Marie grows up, her hair grows longer and longer, heavier and heavier, until she needs help carrying it from “Six maids, five servants, / a kitchen helper, butler, and caddie, / the teacher and his silly pet, / a young page, and poor choir lady.” When a talented new court hairstylist arrives, the princess gains more freedom to move about and goes to school, where her magical hair amuses other students by changing color and dispensing butterflies and treats. Marie’s hair is cursed by a bitter, gloomy troll with a grudge, but her kindness finds a way to reach him. Mammonek (Escape From Cat City, 2018) tells a fanciful story bolstered by some serious undercurrents. Readers will likely enjoy the fun of all the ways Marie’s hair behaves and misbehaves and the various attempts to contain it. At the same time, the book includes messages about good self-care and the necessity of living in the real world, not in dreams. The rhyming verse usually works well, although the scansion can be off. Mammonek’s illustrations are a charming collage of photos and digital artwork in confectionary colors set against backdrops of swirls, butterflies, and other images.

An attractive blend of fairy-tale elements with self-esteem encouragement.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5255-4907-6

Page Count: 136

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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