An uplifting, eye-filling adventure encouraging children to realize their innate creativity and individuality.

YOU BE YOU

Faced with a blank canvas, a young girl finds her creative spirit in Brehm’s unusual picture book.

Emerging from a dark forest, a sickle moon overhead, a young girl enters “a whispery house / At the edge of the wild,” where mysterious “Old Master Paint” awaits her in a cape of luminous, swirling colors. Too tongue-tied and uncertain to say her name, the girl is given a bucket and a brush and led down strange hallways and upstairs to a room dominated by an enormous, white canvas—hers to paint, she is told. After a tentative, disappointing first effort, the little girl’s anger and self-doubt—in the form of trolls, wolves, and her alter ego—threaten to get the better of her until she realizes that she is in control. It is her own life the girl is painting, and she can choose to “Dream large! Grab on! / You’re just getting started, / Such adventures to come!” The offbeat cadence of inspirational, rhyming, and almost-rhyming text winds through dreamlike images by award-winning Brazilian author/illustrator Coelho. Shadowed rooms (odd angles and haunting details), rich abstractions of patterns and color, and showers of light reflect the little girl’s initial hesitation to claim her place in the world and her subsequent, celebratory sense of self-discovery.

An uplifting, eye-filling adventure encouraging children to realize their innate creativity and individuality.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-64999-718-0

Page Count: -

Publisher: BeeZeus Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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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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A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared.

IMAGINE

Former Poet Laureate Herrera encourages his young readers to imagine all they might be in his new picture book.

Herrera’s free verse tells his own story, starting as a young boy who loves the plants and animals he finds outdoors in the California fields and is then thrust into the barren, concrete city. In the city he begins to learn to read and write, learning English and discovering a love for words and the way ink flows “like tiny rivers” across the page as he applies pen to paper. Words soon become sentences, poems, lyrics, and a means of escape. This love of the word ultimately leads him to make writing his vocation and to become the first Chicano Poet Laureate of the United States, an honor Herrera received in 2015. Through this story of hardship to success, expressed in a series of conditional statements that all begin “If I,” Herrera implores his readers to “imagine what you could do.” Castillo’s ink and foam monoprint illustrations are a tender accompaniment to Herrera’s verse, the black lines of her illustrations flowing across the page in rhythm with the author’s poetry. Together this makes for a charming read-aloud for groups or a child snuggled in a lap.

A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared. (Picture book/memoir. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9052-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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