An enchanting one-on-one introduction for mythology fans and fans-to-be.

OVER IN THE WOODLAND

A MYTHOLOGICAL COUNTING JOURNEY

Snuggle up to savor the familiar and the fantastical.

As day dawns, a mother griffin sends out her pride to protect the Woodland. “ ‘Guard,’ said the mother. / ‘We will guard every home.’ / So her young griffins flew / where the mythic creatures roam.” Each verse introduces a new mythological creature family such that, in the familiar “Over in the Meadow” format, young readers rhyme and count their way through the day. One young phoenix rises with its father: “So they rose from the ashes / in the glimmer of the sun”; a few pages later, readers learn that “in a lush, leafy heaven, / Lived a spry mother fairy and her little fairies seven.” At the end of the day, the mother griffin calls her brood home. “ ‘Safe?’ asked the mother. ‘All safe,’ said the ten. / So they settled for the night in the quiet of their den.” Midday scenes are brighter than those at either end of the day, but most of the illustrations in this mythological woodland are mistily ethereal. Young listeners can count the offspring in each new family and search for the young griffin that hides in plain sight on each spread. A glossary includes a paragraph about each of the 10 mythological creatures. A map of the Woodland is presented on the endpapers.

An enchanting one-on-one introduction for mythology fans and fans-to-be. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64170-241-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Familius

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn.

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KNIGHT OWL

A young owl achieves his grand ambition.

Owl, an adorably earnest and gallant little owlet, dreams of being a knight. He imagines himself defeating dragons and winning favor far and wide through his brave exploits. When a record number of knights go missing, Owl applies to Knight School and is surprisingly accepted. He is much smaller than the other knights-in-training, struggles to wield weapons, and has “a habit of nodding off during the day.” Nevertheless, he graduates and is assigned to the Knight Night Watch. While patrolling the castle walls one night, a hungry dragon shows up and Owl must use his wits to avoid meeting a terrible end. The result is both humorous and heartwarming, offering an affirmation of courage and clear thinking no matter one’s size…and demonstrating the power of a midnight snack. The story never directly addresses the question of the missing knights, but it is hinted that they became the dragon’s fodder, leaving readers to question Owl’s decision to befriend the beast. Humor is supplied by the characters’ facial expressions and accented by the fact that Owl is the only animal in his order of big, burly human knights. Denise’s accomplished digital illustrations—many of which are full bleeds—often use a warm sepia palette that evokes a feeling of antiquity, and some spreads feature a pleasing play of chiaroscuro that creates suspense and drama.

A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-31062-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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Whether in hand or on shelf, this one’s sure to make a splash anywhere and everywhere.

I'M ON IT!

From the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series

A frog tries to do everything a goat does, too.

Goat asks Frog to look at them before declaring “I’m ON it!” while balancing atop a tree stump near a pond. After an “Oooh!” and a “You know what?” Frog leaps off their lily pad to balance on a rock: “I’m on it, too!” Goat grabs a prop so that they can be both “on it AND beside it.” (It may take young readers a little bit to realize there are two its.) So does Frog. The competition continues as Frog struggles to mimic overconfident Goat’s antics. In addition to on and beside, the pair adds inside, between, under, and more. Eventually, it all gets to be too much for Frog to handle, so Frog falls into the water, resumes position on the lily pad, and declares “I am OVER it” while eating a fly. In an act of solidarity, Goat jumps in, too. In Tsurumi’s first foray into early readers she pares down her energetic, colorful cartoon style to the bare essentials without losing any of the madcap fun. Using fewer than 80 repeated words (over 12 of which are prepositions), the clever text instructs, delights, and revels in its own playfulness. Color-coded speech bubbles (orange for Goat, green for Frog) help match the dialogue with each speaker. Like others in the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading series, Elephant and Piggie metafictively bookend the main narrative with hilariously on-the-nose commentary.

Whether in hand or on shelf, this one’s sure to make a splash anywhere and everywhere. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-06696-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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