Kids will appreciate Lucas’ need to read and imagine and also understand the message that there is more than one way to fly.

THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN OF BOOKS IN THE WORLD

A picture-book homage to reading.

From his earliest days Lucas is determined to fly. The little white boy spends hours watching birds and airplanes when he’s not trying to make wings for himself—they never work. Every year on his birthday he makes the same wish with no results—until the year his mother puts a book in his hands. “There are other ways to fly, Lucas.” And he’s hooked. Before he knows it, he’s finished all the books in the house, all of the books friends give him, and vans full of books from the library. His sky-high stack of books grows higher and higher, and he becomes famous. People come from all over to see the highest mountain of books in the world. Then one day, all of a sudden, Lucas understands what his mother meant! Even though he can’t fly, his imagination can. The airy illustrations are whimsical, capturing the sensation of flying in softly colored double spreads. Subtle details add to the drollness: a birthday crown made of newsprint and Scotch tape, his sister picking her nose, underwear briefs hanging on a clothesline, a gorilla climbing the pile of books à la King Kong, and a gray cat popping in and out of the scenes.

Kids will appreciate Lucas’ need to read and imagine and also understand the message that there is more than one way to fly. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4413-1999-9

Page Count: 42

Publisher: Peter Pauper Press

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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While not exactly novel, it’s well-executed and very funny.

THE PRINCESS IN BLACK AND THE HUNGRY BUNNY HORDE

From the Princess in Black series , Vol. 3

The Princess in Black’s cutest adventure yet—no, really, the monsters are deceptively cute.

While Princess Magnolia and unicorn Frimplepants are on their way to a much anticipated brunch with Princess Sneezewort, Magnolia’s monster alarm goes off, forcing an emergency costume change on her and Frimplepants to become the Princess in Black and her faithful steed, Blacky. They rush to rescue goat boy Duff, hoping to save the day in time for doughnuts. However, when they arrive, instead of monsters they see a field full of adorable bunnies. Pham’s illustrations give the bunnies wide-eyed innocence and little puffballs on the tips of their ears. Duff tries to explain that they’re menaces from Monster Land that eat everything (all the grass, a tree, a goat’s horn…), but the Princess has trouble imagining that monsters might come in such a cute package. By the time she does, there are too many to fight! Humor comes from the juxtaposed danger and adorableness. Just when the bunnies decide to eat the Princess, Blacky—who, as Frimplepants, is fluent in Cuteness—communicates that she’s not food and persuades the bunnies to return to Monster Land. While Princess Magnolia and Frimplepants are too late for brunch, Princess Sneezewort gets the consolation prize of lunch with the Princess in Black and Blacky.

While not exactly novel, it’s well-executed and very funny. (Fantasy. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6513-5

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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As always, hilarious; perhaps the strongest Princess in Black outing since the first.

THE PRINCESS IN BLACK TAKES A VACATION

From the Princess in Black series , Vol. 4

As the title suggests, the Princess in Black attempts to take a much-needed vacation.

Worn down by constant monster alarms, Princess Magnolia, aka the Princess in Black, can hardly stay awake when fighting the furry, brightly colored monsters menacing her kingdom—this is seen in a funny fight sequence where her usual attacks have been replaced with such maneuvers as the “sluggish swing” and “double dozy.” Luckily, a new hero arrives: the Goat Avenger, who has the same height and smile as Duff the goat boy but “couldn’t be Duff. Duff did not wear a mask.” Duff—as the Goat Avenger—suggests that the princess needs a vacation and offers to handle monster duty in her absence. Princess Magnolia hits the beach and runs into Princess Sneezewort before settling in for a nap—which is promptly interrupted by a giant rampaging sea monster! This nifty battle sequence alternates with scenes of Duff, who amps himself up for battling monsters, liberates a squirrel that has set off a false alarm, and is finally assisted by the squirrel in facing an acorn monster. The dual storylines keep the pace exciting, and—even though the protagonist is sleepy—the art is energetic and charming. Princess Magnolia has fair skin, Duff’s is a little bit darker, and the beachgoers are pleasingly diverse.

As always, hilarious; perhaps the strongest Princess in Black outing since the first. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6512-8

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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