Silly, sincere, and optimistic, this reissue with new illustrations will delight a new generation (or two).

READ REVIEW

THE WIZARD'S TEARS

Kumin and Sexton’s 1975 tale of a reckless young wizard gets a makeover with Katz’s vibrant, whimsical illustrations.

Delicate, colorful lines depict the exaggeratedly long limbs of the human (and animal) residents of Drocknock. Elements of Drocknock’s architecture and clothing are intricately patterned and layered, dominated by cool shades of blue. In contrast, the town’s new wizard, fresh out of school, arrives on a red motor bike and is immediately identifiable throughout the book by his bright red cap and glasses. Upon his arrival, he promptly resolves a townwide case of chicken pox, returns a farmer’s missing cows, and corrects a drought using a concoction that includes his own tears. Buoyed by his own success, the young wizard begins to experiment further, ignoring his predecessor’s warnings: “Wizards’ tears are precious. Wizards’ tears are powerful.” It isn’t until he’s inadvertently transformed the townspeople into plump little frogs in varying shades of green that the young wizard realizes his error and sets out to fix his mistake. The large blocks of text visually balance out the illustrations and make this book an excellent read-aloud for older picture-book readers, while many of the words repeat throughout the text to support emerging independent readers’ facility with language (the leading is forbiddingly tight for those just beginning). Characters are all the white of the paper they are printed on.

Silly, sincere, and optimistic, this reissue with new illustrations will delight a new generation (or two). (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60980-875-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Triangle Square Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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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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A deterministic message detracts from the math.

TEN MAGIC BUTTERFLIES

For 10 flower friends, the grass is always greener…in the sky.

Ten Fantasia-like flowers with adorable faces and leaf arms/hands love being together and basking in the sun, but they also can’t help wanting to break free of their roots and fly when they see the fairies flitting about in the moonlight. One night, “Said the tiny blue one, / ‘Fairy up in the sky, / you see, I’m a flower, / but I want to fly.’ ” While the fairy is puzzled at the flower’s discontent, she grants its wish and transforms it into a butterfly. One by one the others join their mate in the sky as butterflies, each one’s color reflecting its flower origin. At daybreak, though, the new butterflies regret the transformation, and the understanding fairy changes them back again: “But big and tall, / or short and small, / being ourselves / is best of all!” Really? There isn’t even one flower that would really rather fly all the time? Throughout, McKellar emphasizes that there are always 10 in all, though some may be flowers and some butterflies at any given point. The endpapers reinforce ways to make 10 by showing 11 combinations, all in two rows of five, which may confuse children, rather than always keeping butterflies separate from flowers and allowing one row to be longer than the other. The bright colors, butterflies, flowers, and the fairy, who is a dark-skinned pixie with long black hair, seem calibrated to attract girly audiences.

A deterministic message detracts from the math. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-93382-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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