This book may spark inspiration—dads best hide their treasures.

DADDY'S SANDWICH

A young girl makes Daddy a sandwich with all his favorite ingredients….

But not all of them are edible. The first couple spreads will be all too familiar to any caregiver: the little girl repeats “Daddy” louder and louder to try to get her father’s attention, but soccer on TV is distracting him. When he steals away to the kitchen for a cookie, she offers to make him a sandwich, and he offhandedly says yes (maybe he is thinking she means a pretend sandwich). But while this sandwich does have bread on top and bottom, the middle is filled with all sorts of things Dad loves: butter, a block of stinky cheese, a whole tomato—and his cellphone, Mum’s bubble bath (“he sits in there for ages”), his tool belt, etc. And the pièce de résistance? “More than anything, Daddy loves… // ME!” The book ends when Dad walks into the kitchen to view her final creation: “Daddy! Your sandwich is ready!” The adorably scribbly round-headed, big-eyed, white cherub with pink cheeks and brown pigtails is the very picture of innocence, though readers might suspect she’s not by the end. It’s difficult to tell if she knows better or she is truly naïve, as she sneaks away with Daddy’s slippers and hides behind his chair to slip away the TV remote.

This book may spark inspiration—dads best hide their treasures. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-571-31183-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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A brassy, assertive fellow—young readers in the middle of their own power struggles will relate.

TOUGH TUG

A tugboat’s size and might are easy to anthropomorphize; add this personified puffer to the mix.

Tough Tug is built near Seattle, made of strong steel welded together and adorned with a fresh coat of bright red paint. Wide googly eyes and a determined smile complete the look. On launch day, Tough Tug triumphantly flashes forward and backward, twirling and swirling through the water. Older tugboats (distinguished variously by mustaches, glasses, and eye patches) grumble at the youngster’s bravado. “Push and pull is what tugs do. Practice THAT.” Tough Tug’s first job is to tow a barge to Alaska. Rhythmic mantras churn across the surface of the water in bold navy letters: “Ready, steady. / Steady, ready. // Chug and tug. / Tug and chug.” But Tough Tug is overeager and challenges Arctic Tug to a race. The thrum changes to “Race and run! / Run and race!” Arctic Tug is first to Sitka, but while crossing the open ocean to Anchorage, the older tug gets into trouble. It’s Tough Tug to the rescue! McClurkan’s digital paintings look quite modern, but there is a feel to his foamy waves that recalls the mid-20th-century harbor of Little Toot. The anthropomorphized boats have plenty of personality, and readers who study the expressions on the container ships will be rewarded. An author’s note explains this was inspired by a true story of one tug rescuing another boat from a competing tugboat company.

A brassy, assertive fellow—young readers in the middle of their own power struggles will relate. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5039-5098-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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A chuckle-inducing, entirely worthy stand-alone follow-up to the terrific The Princess in Black (2014).

THE PRINCESS IN BLACK AND THE PERFECT PRINCESS PARTY

From the Princess in Black series , Vol. 2

Princess Magnolia’s perfect birthday party’s threatened by constant monster alarms, summoning her secret identity again and again.

Prim, proper Princess Magnolia is all decked out in her pink finery, awaiting the arrival of a dozen ethnically diverse fellow-princess party guests for her birthday when her monster-alarm ring goes off. She changes attire and personas, becoming the heroic Princess in Black. Working swiftly, she saves a goat from a hungry monster and gets back to her palace in time to welcome her guests. But just when she thinks she’s in the clear and ready to open her presents, off goes her monster-alarm ring again! This pattern—Magnolia is just about to open presents when her alarm goes off, she comes up with a distraction for the princesses, defeats a monster, and returns just in time—continues through the book. It’s enhanced by visual gags, such as Magnolia’s increasingly flustered appearance, and hilarious depictions of the various ways monsters try to eat goats, from between giant pieces of bread to in a giant ice cream cone. A side character, the fittingly named Princess Sneezewort, frequently comes close to discovering Magnolia’s secret. In the end, Magnolia can’t take the constant interruptions anymore, yelling at a monster that it’s her birthday—the monster, abashed, ends up helping her in one last distraction for the other princesses.

A chuckle-inducing, entirely worthy stand-alone follow-up to the terrific The Princess in Black (2014). (Fantasy. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6511-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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