Little ones will have fun mimicking the characters without realizing they're learning Chinese at the same time.

READ REVIEW

THE FROG AND THE BOY

Who knew a human boy and a frog could have so much in common?

Unlike many bilingual picture books, this Chinese import is delivered primarily in Simplified Chinese accompanied by hanyu pinyin (Mandarin phonetic transcriptions). At the back, English text is paired to thumbnail illustrations. Out picnicking with his parents, a little boy meets a frog and engages it in friendly competition. “I can squat,” says the frog. “I can squat too,” says the boy. The frog boasts, “My tongue is long.” The boy replies, “My tongue is long too.” Then the frog has a thought and invites the boy to come with it. The frog leads the boy to a pond where a colony of frogs greets him reverently: “Welcome home, Prince.” Due to his froglike talents, the frogs have mistaken the boy for their long-lost prince! Thinking quickly, he points out why he can’t possibly be the Frog Prince: he has dark hair and pink ears; he doesn’t like wearing green and definitely doesn’t like eating bugs. Too bad the abrupt and somewhat absurd ending (lost in translation perhaps?) doesn't live up to the rest of the story. Regardless, the art shines. The boy’s dynamic expressions morph from page to page, and the rural setting is awash in gorgeous earth tones: brown soil, green leaves, blue-gray sky, and splashes of pink. Don’t skip the endpapers—they bookend the story beautifully.

Little ones will have fun mimicking the characters without realizing they're learning Chinese at the same time. (glossary) (Bilingual picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2016

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 42

Publisher: Candied Plums

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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Give this to the sparkle- and cupcake-obsessed child in your life

UNICORN DAY

Fabled equines party and play in a bright confection of a picture book.

“Hooray! Hooray! It’s Unicorn Day!” In galloping rhyming text that mostly scans, a community of chipper, bright-eyed unicorns obeys the three rules of Unicorn Day: “Show off your horn,” “Fluff up that hair,” and “Have fun, fun, fun!” They dance, frolic with butterflies, and of course eat cupcakes. But then they discover an interloper: A dun-colored quadruped, with a horn suspiciously attached with string, is outed as a horse. He mopes off, but the unicorns come running after—“they don’t want to lose a friend!”—and his horn is tied back on. With tension limited to a page turn, this very minor climax is resolved immediately. Then it’s back to the fun, as lots of other creatures (human children, a rainbow octopus, a Yeti, and more) join the unicorn parade with their own tied-on horns. Is this an allegory about straight people at pride parades? An argument that appropriation is OK sometimes? Should one read meaning into the identity of the only brown “unicorn”? Or is it just a zany, philosophy-free, sugar-fueled opposite-of-a-bedtime story? Regardless of subtext, conscious or otherwise, kiddie readers hungry for fluff will be drawn to the bright, energetic illustrations as to cotton candy.

Give this to the sparkle- and cupcake-obsessed child in your life . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6722-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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Creative, comedic, and carrot-loads of fun.

A IS FOR ANOTHER RABBIT

An obsessed narrator creates an alphabet book overrun with rabbits, much to the chagrin of an owl who wants to create a “proper, respectable” alphabet book.

The picture book begins, “A is for A rabbit,” an illustration of a large brown rabbit taking up most of the recto. The owl protagonist—presumably the co-creator of the book—points out that “rabbit” begins with “R.” “Yes, but “a rabbit” starts with A,” says the narrator, before moving on to “B is for bunny,” which, as the owl points out, is just another name for rabbit. Despite the owl’s mounting frustration, the narrator genially narrates several rabbits into existence on almost every single page, rendered with such variety that readers will find their proliferation endlessly amusing. The letter D, for instance, introduces readers to “delightful, dynamic, daredevil RABBITS!” (a herd of biker rabbits), and although the narrator says “E is for Elephant” (which momentarily satisfies the owl), the image depicts several rabbits poorly disguised as an elephant. Much to the owl’s chagrin and, ultimately, exhaustion, the narrator grows more and more creative in their presentation of their favorite animal as the picture book proceeds down a rabbit hole of…well, rabbits! Batsel’s debut picture book for readers already familiar with the English alphabet is funny and highly entertaining. The whimsical narrative and the colorful images make this an excellent elementary-age read-aloud.

Creative, comedic, and carrot-loads of fun. (Picture book. 4-8)/p>)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2950-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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It’s slight on story, but there is an abundance of shimmery glitter. And, of course, pink.

TWINKLE THINKS PINK!

Reminiscent of another rosy-hue–loving protagonist, Twinkle can’t get enough of the color pink.

Twinkle and her friends are invited to a garden party hosted by Fairy Godmother at the royal palace. It promises beautiful roses, which are the talk of the town. Twinkle, along with fairy friends Pippa and Lulu, can’t resist sneaking a peek before the party begins. The roses are all the colors of the rainbow. It looks divine, but Pippa can’t help but muse, “What a shame there aren’t more pink ones.” That’s all the encouragement Twinkle needs. She waves her wand, and (after a few missteps) suddenly everything in the garden is pink, right down to a winged rabbit onlooker and a shocked owl. Poor Twinkle still doesn’t have a handle on spell-casting. Have they ruined the garden party for everyone? The fuel for Holabird’s impetuous heroine’s fluttering is excitement rather than common sense. But she does confess to Fairy Godmother and admit her mistake. Warburton’s intricately inked illustrations provide enough fairy magic (tiny fruit houses with even tinier doors, a poodle with gossamer wings) to have readers poring over the details. The fairies present mostly white (other friends are shown on the endpapers), with only black-presenting Pippa providing diversity.

It’s slight on story, but there is an abundance of shimmery glitter. And, of course, pink. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2917-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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