This gently magical outing will appeal not only to longtime lovers of European folklore, but also to fans of the popular...

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BACKYARD FAIRIES

In this gentle picture book, a sturdy, redheaded, rosy-cheeked girl searches for fairies in her backyard—and invites readers to come along.

Have you ever found, while out on your own… // A tiny, magical somebody’s home? // Or sensed a fluttering, flickering flight… / gone when you turn, just out of sight?” the protagonist asks. On each spread, the girl and readers search for fairies and other magical creatures; the girl “sees” the magic but keeps missing the little magicians, which will greatly amuse young readers, who will delight in spotting them. “You might leave an offering, / then you discover, / it’s vanished by morning, / replaced with another.” Here the girl misses at least three fairies as she gazes at a nest in the middle of a fairy ring. When the girl wonders whether the fairies are out there at all, the fairies finally reply—by placing a floral fairy crown on her head. Wahl’s old-time–y, vignette-style illustrations, done in watercolor, colored pencil, and collage, depicting vibrant woodlands evoke classic, Western fairy-tale tropes, and the playful, hand-drawn text reinforces the lightness and sprightliness of the subject matter. Though quite different in subject, Wahl’s sophomore effort is just as delightful as her 2015 debut, Sonya’s Chickens. Human-shaped fairies display a range of skin tones.

This gently magical outing will appeal not only to longtime lovers of European folklore, but also to fans of the popular “fairy door” phenomenon. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-1527-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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A surprisingly nuanced lesson set in confidence-building, easy-to-decode text.

BO'S MAGICAL NEW FRIEND

From the Unicorn Diaries series , Vol. 1

A unicorn learns a friendship lesson in this chapter-book series opener.

Unicorn Bo has friends but longs for a “bestie.” Luckily, a new unicorn pops into existence (literally: Unicorns appear on especially starry nights) and joins Bo at the Sparklegrove School for Unicorns, where they study things like unicorn magic. Each unicorn has a special power; Bo’s is granting wishes. Not knowing what his own might be distresses new unicorn Sunny. When the week’s assignment is to earn a patch by using their unicorn powers to help someone, Bo hopes Sunny will wish to know Bo's power (enabling both unicorns to complete the task, and besides, Bo enjoys Sunny’s company and wants to help him). But when the words come out wrong, Sunny thinks Bo was feigning friendship to get to grant a wish and earn a patch, setting up a fairly sophisticated conflict. Bo makes things up to Sunny, and then—with the unicorns friends again and no longer trying to force their powers—arising circumstances enable them to earn their patches. The cheerful illustrations feature a sherbet palette, using patterns for texture; on busy pages with background colors similar to the characters’ color schemes, this combines with the absence of outlines to make discerning some individual characters a challenge. The format, familiar to readers of Elliott’s Owl Diaries series, uses large print and speech bubbles to keep pages to a manageable amount of text.

A surprisingly nuanced lesson set in confidence-building, easy-to-decode text. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-32332-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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