Insensitive and unwelcoming.

PRINCESS KEVIN

A determined boy wears a princess costume to his school’s fancy dress show.

Despite what others think and in defiance of their laughter, Kevin, a little white boy, refuses to dress as a knight, cowboy, or superhero for his school’s costume event. Kevin is a princess. If girls can wear any costume they want, after all, then so can he. Proud of his outfit, Kevin seeks one final addition to “complete the look”: a knight to hold his hand. Bright, hand-drawn pen-and-ink illustrations accompany the narration. Kevin and Chloe (the other character named in the text) appear white, but their class includes students with light and dark brown skin. While the narration suggests that Kevin has support from his family, he faces rejection from his classmates without intervention. Apart from brief mentions of Kevin’s mother’s lipstick and Chloe’s father, adults play no role in the story. None of the students in class stand up for Kevin either. Even Chloe’s giggling remark that “You’ve got a lot to learn before you can be a real princess” as she helps him undress keeps Kevin from self-expression. Furthermore, Escoffier places strict judgment in the text that “the whole point” of wearing a costume “is that you become someone totally different. Otherwise it makes no sense to dress up in the first place,” leaving no room for personal exploration.

Insensitive and unwelcoming. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-5435-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

SYLVIA'S SPINACH

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life.

¡VAMOS! LET'S GO TO THE MARKET

From the ¡Vamos! series

Little Lobo and his dog, Bernabé, journey through a Mexican mercado delivering diverse goods to a variety of booths.

With the aid of red words splattered throughout the spreads as labels, Raúl the Third gives an introduction to Spanish vocabulary as Little Lobo, an anthropomorphic wolf, leaves his house, fills his cart with objects from his warehouse, and delivers them to the market’s vendors. The journey also serves as a crash course in Mexican culture, as the images are packed with intertextual details such as food, traditional games, and characters, including Cantinflas, Frida Khalo, and Juan Gabriel. Readers acquainted with Raúl the Third’s characters from his Lowriders series with author Cathy Camper will appreciate cameos from familiar characters. As he makes his rounds, Little Lobo also collects different artifacts that people offer in exchange for his deliveries of shoe polish, clothespins, wood, tissue paper, paintbrushes, and a pair of golden laces. Although Raúl the Third departs from the ball-pen illustrations that he is known for, his depiction of creatures and critters peppering the borderland where his stories are set remains in his trademark style. The softer hues in the illustrations (chosen by colorist Bay) keep the busy compositions friendly, and the halftone patterns filling the illustrations create foregrounds and backgrounds reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein’s pointillism.

A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-55726-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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