Simple yet delightful, this picture book is sure to find a place in young hearts.

HENRY AND THE YETI

A young boy makes a large mythological friend in the first story written by illustrator Ayto.

Henry, a tiny boy with giant red glasses, wants to find a yeti. His astronomer father, peering distractedly through telescopes and binoculars, doesn’t think they exist, but Henry can go looking if he doesn’t stay up too late. Henry’s principal tries to convince him that yetis don’t exist, announcing the plan to the whole school in an attempt to deter him through mockery, but Henry perseveres. He easily makes his way, “across an ocean, up a hill, over a river, and through a dense forest (all without staying up late).” When Henry finds a yeti, he takes plenty of selfies with his new friend, only to accidentally leave the camera behind. But the gigantic, snow-white, big-eyed creature follows him home, saving Henry from torment from skeptical classmates and teachers. Dryly witty text and clipped timing will make for a fun read-aloud, but the true hilarity of the book lies in the drawings of Henry, with his enveloping black turtleneck pulled up to his nose, his quirky, nervous, pigeon-toed stance, his big nose, and skinny, jubilant arms. The yeti is equally endearing, quirky, and cuddly, and the two are a perfectly matched set. Henry, his father, and the principal all present white, but his classmates are diverse.

Simple yet delightful, this picture book is sure to find a place in young hearts. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-683-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.

DRAGONS LOVE TACOS

From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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Likely to cause some imaginative prancing among unicorn and kitty lovers.

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ITTY-BITTY KITTY-CORN

Is Kitty only a kitten? Or might she be a noble unicorn?

Inspired by the unicorn on her poster, Kitty crafts a perfect horn and admires herself in the mirror. She feels “unicorn-y.” Her friends disagree. “ ‘You’re not a unicorn, putty-pie,’ says Parakeet. / ‘You’re curled up like a cat, fluffy-fry,’ says Gecko.” So Kitty uncurls to prance and gallop, but her detractors point out her tiny tail. With some effort she plumps it up. They tell her she will never be a unicorn because she meows like a cat; this, of course, prompts her to let out a loud “NEIGH!” Parakeet and Gecko are having none of it, each time varying their mild name-calling. As the sun dips low, Kitty’s sure her long shadow looks like a unicorn’s—until a real unicorn clops into view. Gecko and Parakeet are impressed, and Kitty feels insignificant. But this unicorn has a secret…a pair of fluffy, pink kitty ears the same pink as Kitty’s. They can be kitty-corns together, best friends. Unicorn fans will definitely identify with Hale’s protagonist and respond well to Pham’s bright cartoons, laid out as spot illustrations that pop against the mostly all-white backgrounds. The way Kitty’s friends dismissively poke fun with their name-calling may give some readers pause, but the be-true-to-the-inner-you message and the expressive characterizations add appeal. (This book was reviewed digitally with 12-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 51.2% of actual size.)

Likely to cause some imaginative prancing among unicorn and kitty lovers. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5091-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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