THE PRINCE AND THE PORKER

Pignatius the pig learns that clothes make the man—er, prince.

While strolling past the palace one day, Pignatius spots a tray of fresh buns cooling near an open door. He makes short, delicious work of them and, figuring that there might be more inside, enters the palace. In the kitchen, he downs a big jar of cream, scaring the cook in the process. Ascending the winding staircase, Pignatius enters a sumptuous bedroom decorated all in blue, pokes around in a “dressing-up chest,” and finds breaches, buckles, and a big orange wig, all of which he dons. The cook and a clutch of servants burst into the room with makeshift weapons—and immediately bow and apologize! Pignatius eats a luscious feast and inspects the new guard. Then his impish side takes over; he instructs them to hop like frogs and blows up the gardener’s prize pumpkin. Pignatius is enjoying a tub of sweets when in strides…the genuine prince, a dead ringer for the costumed pig. Bently’s rhymed reworking of the Mark Twain classic is appropriately silly; young readers should identify with Pignatius’ curiosity and mischief. Roberts’ elegant yet loopy illustrations—in watercolors, pen, and ink—are a big enhancement. A dark-skinned duchess, footman, and some guards lend diversity to the otherwise white cast, all of whom are fitted out in an agreeable mishmash of ornate frills and furbelows.

Peachy. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2312-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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RAIN SCHOOL

It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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Clever verse coupled with bold primary-colored images is sure to attract and hone the attention of fun-seeking children...

TOYS GALORE

A fizzy yet revealing romp through the toy world.

Though of standard picture-book size, Stein and illustrator Staake’s latest collaboration (Bugs Galore, 2012, etc.) presents a sweeping compendium of diversions for the young. From fairies and gnomes, race cars and jacks, tin cans and socks, to pots ’n’ pans and a cardboard box, Stein combs the toy kingdom for equally thrilling sources of fun. These light, tightly rhymed quatrains focus nicely on the functions characterizing various objects, such as “Floaty, bubbly, / while-you-wash toys” or “Sharing-secrets- / with-tin-cans toys,” rather than flatly stating their names. Such ambiguity at once offers Staake free artistic rein to depict copious items capable of performing those tasks and provides pre-readers ample freedom to draw from the experiences of their own toy chests as they scan Staake’s vibrant spreads brimming with chunky, digitally rendered objects and children at play. The sense of community and sharing suggested by most of the spreads contributes well to Stein’s ultimate theme, which he frames by asking: “But which toy is / the best toy ever? / The one most fun? / Most cool and clever?” Faced with three concluding pages filled with all sorts of indoor and outside toys to choose from, youngsters may be shocked to learn, on turning to the final spread, that the greatest one of all—“a toy SENSATION!”—proves to be “[y]our very own / imagination.”

Clever verse coupled with bold primary-colored images is sure to attract and hone the attention of fun-seeking children everywhere. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6254-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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