Empty calories surround some emotional truth.

THE NEWEST PRINCESS

From the Itty Bitty Princess Kitty series , Vol. 1

Change can be very scary even for a princess kitty.

The setup reads like a sendup. Cotton-candy–colored kitten Itty Bitty lives in a castle in Lollyland with her parents, King and Queen Kitty. She loves going to school and playing in Goodie Grove with her friends Luna Unicorn, Esme Butterfly, and Chipper Bunny. When an announcement fairy surprises Itty and Luna with the news that Itty’s eighth shooting star is on its way, they know this means that Itty will be an official princess in just a few days. She soon learns this means she’ll have a new tutor, new hairstyle, and new bedroom…that’s a lot of changes for someone so itty bitty. She likes the tiara, but the rest upset her tummy. Will understanding parents and friends be enough to help her through? This series starter features large, inviting type, short chapters, and black-and-white cartoon illustrations of large-headed, supercute creatures on nearly every page. Young readers facing changes will identify with Itty’s emotions, though most won’t be given the option to refuse it, as she is. For those new to chapter books who are obsessed with kitties, princesses, and fairies, this earns a glitter-spewing shooting star…all others should have the insulin handy at first exposure.

Empty calories surround some emotional truth. (Fantasy. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5494-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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