All that’s missing are the recipes.

READ REVIEW

A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE

William might live in the land of fairy tales, but he just wants to cook.

More interested in pastries than princesses, William’s tried plying his culinary trade around the fairy-tale kingdom. At the Brick House (run by the Three Pigs), “the menu was too dangerous” (think Pot-o’-Wolf Stew). At Three Bears Bistro, the customers were too picky about the food’s temperature. And his stint at Gingerbread-on-the-Go ended in a footrace with the cookies. Setting out to acquire ingredients to cook from home, he finds a box addressed to Fairy-Tale Headquarters containing apples, beans, and a pumpkin. He decides to spruce up their menu and cooks a delightful dish with each—but Judy at headquarters and the fairy-tale folk who’d ordered the original ingredients for their tales are aghast. After reading the book of fairy tales they send him away with, William rushes back to see what’s happened. Snow White passed out after eating every one of his delicious baked apples, but the prince kissed her awake, so all’s well there. Jack traded the yummy bean soup for the giant’s castle, so that’s ended well also. But what can Cinderella do with a pumpkin pie? It works out happily ever after for everyone, especially William. Klostermann’s triple-twisted tale is a cute concoction that children familiar with the traditional stories will enjoy. Mantle’s bright, cartoon illustrations pair neatly with the text and propel the story with whimsical sight gags and charm to spare. Save a passing giant and a few of the dwarves, all the human or humanoid characters are white (or green).

All that’s missing are the recipes. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93232-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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In contrast to the carbs and desserts pictured, though sweet, this is unlikely to stick with readers.

BAGEL IN LOVE

A romance for carb (and pun!) lovers who dance to their own drummers and don’t give up on their dreams.

Bagel is a guy who loves to dance; when he’s tapping and twirling, he doesn’t feel plain. The problem is, he can’t find a partner for the Cherry Jubilee Dance Contest. Poppy says his steps are half-baked. Pretzel, “who was at the spa getting a salt rub…told him his moves didn’t cut the mustard.” He strikes out in Sweet City, too, with Croissant, Doughnut, and Cake. But just when he’s given up, he hears the music from the contest and can’t help moving his feet. And an echoing tap comes back to him. Could it be a partner at last? Yep, and she just happens to smell sweet and have frosting piled high. Bagel and Cupcake crush the contest, but winning the trophy? That “was just icing on the cake,” as the final sentence reads, the two standing proudly with a blue ribbon and trophy, hearts filling the space above and between them. Dardik’s digital illustrations are pastel confections. Sometimes just the characters’ heads are the treats, and other times the whole body is the foodstuff, with tiny arms and legs added on. Even the buildings are like something from “Hansel and Gretel.” However, this pun-filled narrative is just one of many of its ilk, good for a few yuks but without much staying power.

In contrast to the carbs and desserts pictured, though sweet, this is unlikely to stick with readers. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2239-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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