The important themes of charity and love come through strongly in this thoughtfully and playfully illustrated but plainly...

A well-known literary fairy tale about compassion, adapted and with new illustrations.

The Swallow’s lyrical speeches have been removed, leaving the basic outline of the story of a gold statue, the titular Happy Prince. As a living ruler, he admits that “I didn’t care what happened to my people.” Now concerned with his citizens, the gold statue asks the kind Swallow (pictured with a white, human face) to stay in the city instead of migrating to Egypt to escape the cold. The Happy Prince wants the Swallow to give his sword’s ruby to a brown-skinned seamstress so she can purchase “food and medicine for her poor son.” He asks the Swallow to carry his sapphire eye to a young, white writer who needs firewood and finally to take his other sapphire eye to a suffering, white match-girl. The Swallow selflessly declares that he cannot leave the blind Prince. Other charitable acts follow as the Swallow gives away the Prince’s gold leaf exterior, but the bird finally dies from the cold and the Mayor orders the now “shabby” statue to be destroyed. As a fit ending for the two true friends, one of God’s angels brings them to a Rousseau-like “garden of Paradise, together.” The bold, expressive, mixed-media illustrations have a childlike look and idiosyncratically include Egyptian palm trees and camels in the northern city. The detailed, busy, often humorous images are best appreciated one-on-one.

The important themes of charity and love come through strongly in this thoughtfully and playfully illustrated but plainly written adaptation. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-500-65111-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017


From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018


From the Zara's Rules series , Vol. 1

A charming contemporary story with a classic feel.

A 10 ¾-year-old girl weathers changes in her social circle—and her sense of self.

Dubbed “Queen of the Neighborhood” by beloved neighbor Mr. Chapman, who has sadly left Maryland for balmy Florida, Zara is apprehensive when a family with two kids moves into his house, potentially upsetting the delicate social balance. Readers familiar with Khan’s Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream books, set a few years after this series opener, will recognize the bustling Pakistani American Muslim household. Assertive, organized Zara and rambunctious 7-year-old Zayd live with their Mama and Baba; the siblings’ grandparents and uncle are integral parts of their daily lives. Zara and Zayd enjoy playing outside with their friends—Black sisters Jade and Gloria, White Alan, and Chinese American Melvin. Mr. Chapman always said that Zara knew how to “rule with grace and fairness,” but new arrivals Naomi and Michael, Jewish kids who are eager to engage socially, put this to the test. When Jamal Mamoo, Mama’s brother, brings over his Guinness World Records book, Zara decides that becoming a world-record holder is the boost her social status needs. Her humorous (and futile) attempts to make her mark ultimately lead her to being a more patient and understanding big sister and more flexible and supportive companion to friends old and new. Strong pacing, fluid prose, engaging hijinks, and heartwarming scenes of family life and outdoor play are complemented by expressive illustrations.

A charming contemporary story with a classic feel. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-9759-7

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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