Crossing the ocean like the Child and her friends, this mildly precious 2011 tale joins a plethora of similar journeys...


Snow outside is no obstacle to world-spanning adventures inside for a child and her toys.

“Let’s go adventuring!” suggests “the Child.” Without further ado, she and companions Rocking Horse, Velvet Cat, Blue Elephant, Russian Doll, and Pirate are careening through snowy mountains, sailing over moonlit seas, snoozing in a desert oasis, and playing with monkeys in a jungle. At each stop the quick-thinking Child heroically delivers her party from an exciting threat—a toothy yeti, a sea monster, a wicked genie—that drives the travelers on, until at last a wild ride down a foaming waterfall deposits them all, safe and sleepy, back in the cozy playroom. In full-bleed jumbles of swirling, close-up action Docampo’s broad-faced figures change garb but not general form (Child, Pirate, and Russian Doll are all white) and switch expressions between glee and apprehension with each page turn. The comments each calls out (“I swim with mermaids and dive for pearls”; “But a wicked genie traps us in a deep, dark, [sic] cave!”) serve both to build scenarios and to preserve the breathless pacing. The peaceful closer leaves Child and all dozing intimately in each other’s laps or arms. The Child’s harem costume and the genie smack of Orientalism; the Pirate sports both a peg leg and an eye patch.

Crossing the ocean like the Child and her friends, this mildly precious 2011 tale joins a plethora of similar journeys tempting younger readers to embark on imaginary flights. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-910925-19-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Hutton Grove

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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A story of friendship that is both lively and lovely


From the Kondo & Kezumi series , Vol. 1

Two friends embark upon a high-seas adventure.

Kondo, a large lemon-colored creature with wide round eyes, spends his day on his island home with his best friend, tangerine-hued Kezumi. Together, they frolic on their idyllic isle picking berries (tall Kondo nabs the higher fruit while Kezumi helps to retrieve the lower) while surrounded by tiny “flitter-birds” and round “fluffle-bunnies.” One day, Kezumi finds a map in a bottle that declares “WE ARE NOT ALONE.” Inspired by visions of a larger world, Kondo and Kezumi fashion a boat from a bathtub and set sail. The pair visits fantastical islands—deliciously cheese-laden Dairy Isle, the fiery and fearsome Fireskull Island—until they eventually settle upon the titular Giant Island, where they meet Albert, a gigantic gray talking mountain who is—obviously—unable to leave. Enthralled by his new friends, Albert wants them to stay forever. After Albert makes a fraught decision, Kondo and Kezumi find themselves at a crossroads and must confront their new friend. Goodner and Tsurumi’s brightly illustrated chapter book should find favor with fans of Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen’s similarly designed Mercy Watson series. Short, wry, descriptive sentences make for an equally enjoyable experience whether read aloud or independently. Episodic chapters move the action along jauntily; the conclusion is somewhat abrupt, but it promises more exploration and adventures for the best friends. (This review was originally published in the June 1, 2019, issue. The book data has been updated to reflect changes in publisher and date of publication.)

A story of friendship that is both lively and lovely (Fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02577-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Innocuous adventuring on the smallest of scales.


From the Adventures of Henry Whiskers series , Vol. 1

The Mouse and the Motorcycle (1965) upgrades to The Mice and the Rolls-Royce.

In Windsor Castle there sits a “dollhouse like no other,” replete with working plumbing, electricity, and even a full library of real, tiny books. Called Queen Mary’s Dollhouse, it also plays host to the Whiskers family, a clan of mice that has maintained the house for generations. Henry Whiskers and his cousin Jeremy get up to the usual high jinks young mice get up to, but when Henry’s little sister Isabel goes missing at the same time that the humans decide to clean the house up, the usually bookish big brother goes on the adventure of his life. Now Henry is driving cars, avoiding cats, escaping rats, and all before the upcoming mouse Masquerade. Like an extended version of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Two Bad Mice (1904), Priebe keeps this short chapter book constantly moving, with Duncan’s peppy art a cute capper. Oddly, the dollhouse itself plays only the smallest of roles in this story, and no factual information on the real Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House is included at the tale’s end (an opportunity lost).

Innocuous adventuring on the smallest of scales. (Fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6575-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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