The artist’s fans might key in, but most young readers will be left in the dark.


When your computer powers down, the little “dot” is off-duty. You don’t think it just sits there, do you?

In this tipsy flight from Steadman, originally published overseas in 2000, the tidy dot on the first page is quickly transformed into mad splotches of black sporting googly eyes. It zooms through cyberspace to have tea—or, rather ink (“I LOVE INK!”)—with “my friend the Duchess of Amalfi,” and then goes off to spatter the besieging Duke of Bogshott and his white-uniformed army. Serving largely as an excuse for the illustrator to wield pen and brush ever more ferociously across a series of spreads, this free-associative plotline culminates with an invitation to attend the wedding of the duke and duchess as “Best Dot” (“I was so excited I made a mess on her carpet”) and a quick return home: “And here I am, ready to work for you again—dot dot dot.” As a clever riff on the internet, this doesn’t hold a pixel to Randi Zuckerberg and Joel Berger’s Dot. (2013) or Goodnight iPad by “Ann Droid” (2011), and the illustrator’s whacked-out mite isn’t going to take young readers on the sort of imagination-stretching artistic rides that Peter Reynolds’ The Dot (2003) or Hervé Tullet’s Press Here (2011) offer. But it does at least dispense exuberantly unrestrained permission to paint outside the lines.

The artist’s fans might key in, but most young readers will be left in the dark. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-56792-520-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Godine

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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“Do fairies exist? The answer is a definite, energetic, resounding and unquestionable Yes.” Suggesting that anyone who has ever felt inexplicably grumpy, happy, scatterbrained, loving or giggly has been influenced by a particular kind of fairy, Carretero proceeds to catalog fairy types, habitats (country fairies have “hot pollen for breakfast” and do “complicated yoga exercises”) and yearly celebrations. An album at the end provides six pages of fairy types (kissy-kissy, bubbly, brainy—in glasses, natch—etc.), and the book concludes with a few fairy activities. Showing a fondness for bright flowers and checkerboard patterns, she illustrates the tour with luminous watercolor scenes featuring gatherings of wide-eyed winged girls (all fairies being “half girl and half insect”) with extra-long pipestem limbs flitting gracefully about a range of urban and rural settings. Next to Sally Gardner’s more clever and comprehensive Fairy Catalogue (2001) this comes off as sweet fare, but thin—and the single-page multicultural fairy gallery includes some stereotyping, with a German fairy identified by the sausage at the end of her wand and an omnibus “Oriental” fairy next to others from specific countries. Like its diminutive subjects, easy to miss. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-84-937814-9-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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Similarly opulent renditions abound, but this is as good as any for parents wishing to introduce Frozen-mad children to the...



Between padded covers, a lightly compressed version of Andersen’s frosty classic is paired to lushly detailed illustrations enhanced by scattered flaps and movable bits.

Though she clears away much of the slushy sentiment as well as the angels, the prayers, the robber maiden’s knife and most of the talking flowers (and the Lapp woman), Woodward leaves all the major characters, plus the distinctive “girl sets out to rescue captive boy” plot, intact. Along with adding back a few angels at the beginning, Sumberac goes on to place marionettelike figures sporting oversized eyes and big, frizzy hair into settings that are positively encrusted with ice and snow crystals or with seasonal arrays of exactly rendered flora, fauna and fungi. The effect is not so much bland or cloying as theatrically sumptuous, and the illustrations are so thick with fine detail that the small die-cut flaps on occasional spreads are hard to spot even though they come with discreetly placed instructions to “lift.” More visible is the two-sided spinner and a pull tab that causes the “sprite’s” mirror to explode and on the next spread propels Kay and Gerda into view. The closing pop-up view of the two children kneeling over the “Eternity” sign in the Snow Queen’s icy hall is suitably dramatic (if on the flimsy side). The lengthy text demands either an independent reader or a very dedicated grown-up.

Similarly opulent renditions abound, but this is as good as any for parents wishing to introduce Frozen-mad children to the Disney movie’s original. (annotated list of characters) (Pop-up picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-78312-015-4

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Barron's

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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