It’s an exuberant reminder to dream big, although, sadly, Hoban’s text has been Americanized, losing some of its flavor.

A little girl finds a discarded ice-pop stick, triggering a surprising adventure in this rib-tickling fantasy.

When Rosie discovers a used ice-pop stick, she automatically adds it to the cigar box housing her collection of other ice-pop sticks. The other sticks whine they are “nothing” without their frozen confections, but the sassy new stick boldly asserts he could be something, “maybe a horse.” At bedtime, Rosie wishes for a treasure chest to help her parents pay their bills while her fingers arrange the sticks into a horse shape. Midnight arrives, and Rosie awakens when a horse named “Stickerino” gallops out of the cigar box, promising to take her where there’s treasure. Rosie and Stickerino fly over cities, jungles, oceans and deserts until they arrive at an ice-pop mountain, where Stickerino “stickles” some pirate toughs while Rosie grabs a treasure chest. Next morning, Rosie presents her amazed father with a chest of gold while the sticks recover from their adventure. Blake’s sprightly, quirky signature ink-and-watercolor illustrations vibrate with playfulness and humor as they transport Rosie and Stickerino from their mundane urban world across color-washed pages to a rainbow-hued ice-pop mountain populated with rascally pirates, hilariously tickled into submission by empowered ice-pop sticks.

It’s an exuberant reminder to dream big, although, sadly, Hoban’s text has been Americanized, losing some of its flavor. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6400-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2012


Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022


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

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