THE MINPINS

Disobeying his mother, Little Billy goes into the "Forest of Sin," where he is very nearly devoured by a fire-breathing monster. Just in time, he escapes up a tree, where he discovers a community of tiny people, the Minpins. The Minpins' homes, into which Billy can peer with one eye, remind him of the Queen's Doll House at Windsor Castle; they use their friends the birds for transport. When the Minpins explain that they, too, are being terrorized by the Red-Hot Smoke-Belching Gruncher, Little Billy devises a heroic plan: riding on a swan, he'll lure the monster into the lake (it can't see where it's going because of its own smoke). So he does, becoming a hero, and thereafter secretly visits his new friends. Typical Dahl: a childlike adventure with fantastical antagonists who have rib-tickling names, and a trite, airy moral ("Those who don't believe in magic will never find it"). Benson brings it all to life in his skillfully detailed art—crosshatched pen-and-ink plus cheery color. There are several dramatic double spreads involving the monster, plus beguiling minutiae of the Minpins' treetop life. The long text is suitable for reading aloud to younger children and will also entertain the late author's older fans. (Fiction/Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-670-84168-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1991

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

PIPPA'S NIGHT PARADE

A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures.

Pippa conquers a fear of the creatures that emerge from her storybooks at night.

Pippa’s “wonderfully wild imagination” can sometimes run “a little TOO wild.” During the day, she wears her “armor” and is a force to be reckoned with. But in bed at night, Pippa worries about “villains and monsters and beasts.” Sharp-toothed and -taloned shadows, dragons, and pirates emerge from her storybooks like genies from a bottle, just to scare her. Pippa flees to her parents’ room only to be brought back time and again. Finally, Pippa decides that she “needs a plan” to “get rid of them once and for all.” She decides to slip a written invitation into every book, and that night, they all come out. She tries subduing them with a lasso, an eye patch, and a sombrero, but she is defeated. Next, she tries “sashes and sequins and bows,” throwing the fashion pieces on the monsters, who…“begin to pose and primp and preen.” After that success, their fashion show becomes a nightly ritual. Clever Pippa’s transformation from scared victim of her own imagination to leader of the monster pack feels fairly sudden, but it’s satisfying nonetheless. The cartoony illustrations effectively use dynamic strokes, shadow, and light to capture action on the page and the feeling of Pippa's fears taking over her real space. Pippa and her parents are brown-skinned with curls of various textures.

A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9300-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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