Though the premise is amiable, the execution is lacking.

READ REVIEW

THE ENCHANTED FOREST

Little Red Riding Hood searches for her missing Abuelita all over the forest, encountering many fairy-tale characters and finally happening upon a surprise.

Little Red finds a note on her grandmother’s door telling her to “Go next door!” That’s the Three Bears’ house, but they tell her Abuelita’s not there and give her a plate of empanadas. At the Three Little Pigs’ compound, the busy porkers send her on with tamales. Everyone in the forest encourages her to keep looking and adds food to her basket. Deep in the forest, Little Red finally reaches her own surprise birthday party, given by her Abuelita and forest neighbors. The primary narrative appears in the margin, with the rest of the double-page spread occupied by a colorful scene that incorporates flaps labeled with the English names of various elements (“door”; “bear”). Lifting the flaps allows readers to see the Spanish translations and pronunciations (“la puerta / la PWEAR-tah”; “el oso / el OH’-so”). Despite good intentions, this mildly pleasing book is flawed with errors and omissions. Gender-dependent vocabulary defaults to masculine; a mother duck is rendered “el pato,” for instance, and a pig in a dress is labeled “el cerdo.” Hansel and Gretel greet Little Red with a glaringly incorrect “Buenas días.” The foodstuffs, however, are presented without explanation or translation, and readers who know some Spanish will wonder why Little Red’s name is in English.

Though the premise is amiable, the execution is lacking. (Novelty. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63322-242-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here.

ONE LOVE

A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus.

Using only the refrain from the original (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!”), the reggae great’s daughter Cedella Marley sees this song as her “happy song” and adapts it for children. However, the adaptation robs it of life. After the opening lines, readers familiar with the original song (or the tourism advertisement for Jamaica) will be humming along only to be stopped by the bland lines that follow: “One love, what the flower gives the bee.” and then “One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree.” Brantley-Newton’s sunny illustrations perfectly reflect the saccharine quality of the text. Starting at the beginning of the day, readers see a little girl first in bed, under a photograph of Bob Marley, the sun streaming into her room, a bird at the window. Each spread is completely redundant—when the text is about family love, the illustration actually shows little hearts floating from her parents to the little girl. An image of a diverse group getting ready to plant a community garden, walking on top of a river accompanies the words “One love, like the river runs to the sea.”

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0224-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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PRINCESSES WEAR PANTS

This book wants to be feminist.

Princess Penelope Pineapple, illustrated as a white girl with dark hair and eyes, is the Amelia Bloomer of the Pineapple Kingdom. She has dresses, but she prefers to wear pants as she engages in myriad activities ranging from yoga to gardening, from piloting a plane to hosting a science fair. When it’s time for the Pineapple Ball, she imagines wearing a sparkly pants outfit, but she worries about Grand Lady Busyboots’ disapproval: “ ‘Pants have no place on a lady!’ she’d say. / ‘That’s how it has been, and that’s how it shall stay.’ ” In a moment of seeming dissonance between the text and art, Penny seems to resolve to wear pants, but then she shows up to the ball in a gown. This apparent contradiction is resolved when the family cat, Miss Fussywiggles, falls from the castle into the moat and Princess Penelope saves her—after stripping off her gown to reveal pink, flowered swimming trunks and a matching top. Impressed, Grand Lady Busyboots resolves that princesses can henceforth wear whatever they wish. While seeing a princess as savior rather than damsel in distress may still seem novel, it seems a stretch to cast pants-wearing as a broadly contested contemporary American feminist issue. Guthrie and Oppenheim’s unimaginative, singsong rhyme is matched in subtlety by Byrne’s bright illustrations.

Skip it . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2603-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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