This fun, fast-paced narrative will have readers eager to turn the page and imagine their own fanciful scenarios

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NIMESH THE ADVENTURER

Written in the form of a dialogue, this British import traces the (imaginary!) adventures of a young South Asian boy, Nimesh, on his way home from school.

A voice, presumably an adult’s, asks Nimesh generic questions about school and about his walk home. Nimesh, however, constantly corrects the voice’s (and consequently readers’) assumptions about where he is and what he’s doing. For instance, in the very first double-page spread, a group of children crowd around a book named How to Tame a Dragon in 7 Days. The interrogative text reads, “Hello Nimesh, is school over?”—to which Nimesh responds, “School? My friend, this is not a school! It’s an ancient cave, and shhhh! Or you’ll wake… // …the DRAGON!” Turning the page reveals a dragon wearing Mary Jane pumps, face down and fast asleep atop a book at the teacher’s desk. A bottle of mineral water on the desk simultaneously acknowledges the hilarity of Nimesh’s imagination and allows readers to interpret Nimesh’s exhausted teacher reimagined as a dragon. Amini’s collagelike images depicting Nimesh’s numerous adventures—swimming with sharks, fighting pirates aboard a pirate ship, and skating across the ice at the North Pole, to name a few—complement both Singh’s tongue-in-cheek narrative and Nimesh’s far-reaching imagination.

This fun, fast-paced narrative will have readers eager to turn the page and imagine their own fanciful scenarios . (Picture book. 4-8) 

Pub Date: April 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-911373-24-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lantana

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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Action, clever humor, delightful illustrations and expectation-defying secret identities—when does the next one come out?

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THE PRINCESS IN BLACK

From the Princess in Black series , Vol. 1

Perfect Princess Magnolia has a secret—her alter ego is the Princess in Black, a superhero figure who protects the kingdom!

When nosy Duchess Wigtower unexpectedly drops by Princess Magnolia’s castle, Magnolia must protect her secret identity from the duchess’s prying. But then Magnolia’s monster alarm, a glitter-stone ring, goes off. She must save the day, leaving the duchess unattended in her castle. After a costume change, the Princess in Black joins her steed, Blacky (public identity: Frimplepants the unicorn), to protect Duff the goat boy and his goats from a shaggy, blue, goat-eating monster. When the monster refuses to see reason, Magnolia fights him, using special moves like the “Sparkle Slam” and the “Twinkle Twinkle Little Smash.” The rounded, cartoony illustrations featuring chubby characters keep the fight sequence soft and comical. Watching the fight, Duff notices suspicious similarities between the Princess in Black and Magnolia—quickly dismissed as “a silly idea”—much like the duchess’s dismissal of some discovered black stockings as being simply dirty, as “princesses don’t wear black.” The gently ironic text will amuse readers (including adults reading the book aloud). The large print and illustrations expand the book to a longish-yet-manageable length, giving newly independent readers a sense of accomplishment. The ending hints at another hero, the Goat Avenger.

Action, clever humor, delightful illustrations and expectation-defying secret identities—when does the next one come out? (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6510-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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Give this to the sparkle- and cupcake-obsessed child in your life

UNICORN DAY

Fabled equines party and play in a bright confection of a picture book.

“Hooray! Hooray! It’s Unicorn Day!” In galloping rhyming text that mostly scans, a community of chipper, bright-eyed unicorns obeys the three rules of Unicorn Day: “Show off your horn,” “Fluff up that hair,” and “Have fun, fun, fun!” They dance, frolic with butterflies, and of course eat cupcakes. But then they discover an interloper: A dun-colored quadruped, with a horn suspiciously attached with string, is outed as a horse. He mopes off, but the unicorns come running after—“they don’t want to lose a friend!”—and his horn is tied back on. With tension limited to a page turn, this very minor climax is resolved immediately. Then it’s back to the fun, as lots of other creatures (human children, a rainbow octopus, a Yeti, and more) join the unicorn parade with their own tied-on horns. Is this an allegory about straight people at pride parades? An argument that appropriation is OK sometimes? Should one read meaning into the identity of the only brown “unicorn”? Or is it just a zany, philosophy-free, sugar-fueled opposite-of-a-bedtime story? Regardless of subtext, conscious or otherwise, kiddie readers hungry for fluff will be drawn to the bright, energetic illustrations as to cotton candy.

Give this to the sparkle- and cupcake-obsessed child in your life . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6722-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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