A winningly good-natured version of a familiar favorite. (Picture book/folk tale. 5-8)

READ REVIEW

PEACH GIRL

Can peach dumplings save the world?

In this picture-book adaptation of the popular Japanese folk tales about Momotaro (usually translated as Peach Boy), a little girl springs out of a large peach found by “a farmer and her husband” outside their door. The girl soon is dressed in clothes made out of the peach skin by the farmer. The husband creates a helmet and shield from the peach pit. The girl declares that everything is “Peachy” and that her mission is “to make the world a better place.” She immediately sets off to find an ogre who is reputed to eat small children. Armed with only her wits, her courage and some delicious peach dumplings cooked by the farmer, she meets a monkey, a dog and a pheasant who, lured by the dumplings, accompany her on her quest. After they sail to the ogre’s island, the animals are too scared to approach its palace, but Momoko has no fear. She offers the Shrek-like ogre some dumplings, and they share them over tea. He even says “Peachy” when Momoko offers to come back with her parents. The acrylic paintings feature a winsome girl, three friendly animals and a jolly green giant whose friendliness belies the tales told of him. Despite its somewhat arbitrary use of American slang of an earlier decade, this story has a satisfying ring and a tasty ending.

A winningly good-natured version of a familiar favorite. (Picture book/folk tale. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-927485-58-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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In contrast to the carbs and desserts pictured, though sweet, this is unlikely to stick with readers.

BAGEL IN LOVE

A romance for carb (and pun!) lovers who dance to their own drummers and don’t give up on their dreams.

Bagel is a guy who loves to dance; when he’s tapping and twirling, he doesn’t feel plain. The problem is, he can’t find a partner for the Cherry Jubilee Dance Contest. Poppy says his steps are half-baked. Pretzel, “who was at the spa getting a salt rub…told him his moves didn’t cut the mustard.” He strikes out in Sweet City, too, with Croissant, Doughnut, and Cake. But just when he’s given up, he hears the music from the contest and can’t help moving his feet. And an echoing tap comes back to him. Could it be a partner at last? Yep, and she just happens to smell sweet and have frosting piled high. Bagel and Cupcake crush the contest, but winning the trophy? That “was just icing on the cake,” as the final sentence reads, the two standing proudly with a blue ribbon and trophy, hearts filling the space above and between them. Dardik’s digital illustrations are pastel confections. Sometimes just the characters’ heads are the treats, and other times the whole body is the foodstuff, with tiny arms and legs added on. Even the buildings are like something from “Hansel and Gretel.” However, this pun-filled narrative is just one of many of its ilk, good for a few yuks but without much staying power.

In contrast to the carbs and desserts pictured, though sweet, this is unlikely to stick with readers. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2239-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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