Energetic visuals and tight text—but more exhausting than engaging.

PRINCESS JILL NEVER SITS STILL

From the Somos Ocho series

The energetic adventures of a princess who can’t stay in place.

When the newborn princess Jill is introduced to a joyous, unnamed kingdom, it’s all cheers and happiness. But then the king and queen discover that their child can’t be contained, forever bounding and twirling across throne rooms and kitchens and gardens. It’s amusingly conveyed in two-page spreads on which the tiny Jill’s paths are marked in heavy red crayon over sprightly cartoons. The various experts of the land—witches, warlocks, wise men—make their diagnoses (“Your Highnesses, Princess Jill has a case of I-can’t-keep-my-bottom-still”) and prescribe a series of ineffective treatments. What finally solves the dilemma is the introduction of another royal from a different kingdom, a boy named Pablo who is also perpetually bouncing up to the chandeliers, just like Jill. Unfortunately, the story abruptly ends there, leaving readers without much to hold onto other than the idea that Jill’s acrobatics are acceptable so long as someone else of importance does the same thing. Also worth noting: Jill never actually speaks; she’s only spoken about by other characters concerned about her actions. It’s a muddled message (or lack thereof) in an otherwise quick-moving jaunt. The Spanish-language original suffers the same issues but under a different name: Jill is Sara in that version, which is titled, La princesa Sara no para (literally, “The princess Sara doesn’t stop”). All characters present white.

Energetic visuals and tight text—but more exhausting than engaging. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-84-17123-83-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: nubeOCHO

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited.

LET'S DANCE!

Dancing is one of the most universal elements of cultures the world over.

In onomatopoeic, rhyming text, Bolling encourages readers to dance in styles including folk dance, classical ballet, breakdancing, and line dancing. Read aloud, the zippy text will engage young children: “Tappity Tap / Fingers Snap,” reads the rhyme on the double-page spread for flamenco; “Jiggity-Jig / Zig-zag-zig” describes Irish step dancing. The ballet pages stereotypically include only children in dresses or tutus, but one of these dancers wears hijab. Overall, children included are racially diverse and vary in gender presentation. Diaz’s illustrations show her background in animated films; her active child dancers generally have the large-eyed sameness of cartoon characters. The endpapers, with shoes and musical instruments, could become a matching game with pages in the book. The dances depicted are described at the end, including kathak from India and kuku from Guinea, West Africa. Unfortunately, these explanations are quite rudimentary. Kathak dancers use their facial expressions extensively in addition to the “movements of their hands and their jingling feet,” as described in the book. Although today kuku is danced at all types of celebrations in several countries, it was once done after fishing, an activity acknowledged in the illustrations but not mentioned in the explanatory text.

The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63592-142-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A lively celebration of music and expressive dance.

I GOT THE RHYTHM

The beat is all around her when a girl takes a walk in the park with her mother.

On a lovely summer day, a young African-American girl in a bright pink sundress and matching sneakers sees, smells, sings, claps and snaps her fingers to an internal rhythm. As a boom box plays its song and a drummer taps his beat, neighborhood children join her in an energetic, pulsating dance culminating in a rousing musical parade. Schofield-Morrison’s brief text has a shout-it-out element as each spread resounds with a two-word phrase: “I shook a rhythm with my hips. /SHAKE SHAKE”; “I tapped the rhythm with my toes. / TIP TAP.” Morrison’s full-bleed, textured oil paintings capture the joy of a mother and daughter in an urban park surrounded by musicians, food vendors and many exuberant children. Read this aloud with music playing loudly—not in the background. Morrison is a Coretta Scott King/New Talent Award winner, and this is a fine debut for his wife in their first collaboration.

A lively celebration of music and expressive dance. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61963-178-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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