Sweet characters, skillful storytelling, and knockout illustrations.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2018

ALL IS ASSUREDLY WELL

A monarch and his husband long for a baby girl of their own—sparking an arduous search—in this picture book.

In their tiny castle, King Phillip the Good and his “elegant husband, The Most Excellent Don Carlos Emiliano Felipe de Compañero y Campañero,” live happily together. At 8 o’clock every night, Don Carlos can toll the bell and report: “All is assuredly well. / Most assuredly well.” But one day, Phillip realizes that “we need a little princess, a tiny baby girl!” For many nights, the king wishes on the Blue Star for a princess to appear, but without result. But one day, Phillip sees the star beckoning him to follow it through the woods. Understanding he must earn his daughter, the monarch embarks on a dangerous journey. At last the star leads him to a fairy circle where a perfect baby girl sleeps. He and Don Carlos are overjoyed, and again all is well in the kingdom. Gore (Inclusion Strategies for Secondary Classrooms, 2010, etc.) and debut author Wilson offer a charming fable with an effective fairy-tale cadence; the king’s struggles in the forest (he even wrestles a bear) echo the real-life difficulties of adoption, surrogacy, and similar steps toward creating a family. Adoptees should appreciate how desired the baby is, and Phillip’s and Don Carlos’ mutual affection remains touching. The Arthur Rackham–like images in lavender-blue tones by debut illustrator Trotter are a gorgeous, striking plus, beautifully detailed with flower, bird, vine, and fruit motifs.

Sweet characters, skillful storytelling, and knockout illustrations.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9998880-0-1

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Camille Lancaster Literary Children's Books

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A rollicking tale of rivalry.

IT HAPPENED ON SWEET STREET

Sweet Street had just one baker, Monsieur Oliphant, until two new confectionists move in, bringing a sugar rush of competition and customers.

First comes “Cookie Concocter par excellence” Mademoiselle Fee and then a pie maker, who opens “the divine Patisserie Clotilde!” With each new arrival to Sweet Street, rivalries mount and lines of hungry treat lovers lengthen. Children will delight in thinking about an abundance of gingerbread cookies, teetering, towering cakes, and blackbird pies. Wonderfully eccentric line-and-watercolor illustrations (with whites and marbled pastels like frosting) appeal too. Fine linework lends specificity to an off-kilter world in which buildings tilt at wacky angles and odd-looking (exclusively pale) people walk about, their pantaloons, ruffles, long torsos, and twiglike arms, legs, and fingers distinguishing them as wonderfully idiosyncratic. Rotund Monsieur Oliphant’s periwinkle complexion, flapping ears, and elongated nose make him look remarkably like an elephant while the women confectionists appear clownlike, with exaggerated lips, extravagantly lashed eyes, and voluminous clothes. French idioms surface intermittently, adding a certain je ne sais quoi. Embedded rhymes contribute to a bouncing, playful narrative too: “He layered them and cherried them and married people on them.” Tension builds as the cul de sac grows more congested with sweet-makers, competition, frustration, and customers. When the inevitable, fantastically messy food fight occurs, an observant child finds a sweet solution amid the delicious detritus.

A rollicking tale of rivalry. (Picture book. 4-8 )

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-101-91885-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more