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

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: 978-1-945-29515-7

Page Count: 42

Publisher: Candied Plums

Review Posted Online: Nov. 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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From the Big Bright Feelings series

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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