Though the premise is amiable, the execution is lacking.

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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THE LAST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Loewen’s story is a simple snapshot of kindergarten graduation day, and it stays true to form, with Yoshikawa’s artwork resembling photos that might be placed in an album—and the illustrations cheer, a mixed media of saturated color, remarkable depth and joyful expression. The author comfortably captures the hesitations of making the jump from kindergarten to first grade without making a fuss about it, and she makes the prospect something worth the effort. Trepidation aside, this is a reminder of how much fun kindergarten was: your own cubbyhole, the Halloween parade, losing a tooth, “the last time we’ll ever sit criss-cross applesauce together.” But there is also the fledgling’s pleasure at shucking off the past—swabbing the desks, tossing out the stubbiest crayons, taking the pictures off the wall—and surging into the future. Then there is graduation itself: donning the mortarboards, trooping into the auditorium—“Mr. Meyer starts playing a serious song on the piano. It makes me want to cry. It makes me want to march”—which will likely have a few adult readers feeling the same. (Picture book. 4-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7614-5807-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2011

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Nevertheless, children will enjoy the whimsical scenes, and adult mavens of children’s literature will appreciate and...

GOODNIGHT SONGS

ILLUSTRATED BY TWELVE AWARD-WINNING PICTURE BOOK ARTISTS

It’s a treasure trove: one dozen previously unpublished lyrical songs illustrated by the likes of Jonathan Bean, Carin Berger and Melissa Sweet.

In an introduction, estate editor Amy Gary explains how she found a trunk in Brown’s sister’s barn filled with unpublished manuscripts with Brown’s handwritten notes along with musical scores of her words. They were written in 1952, the last year of her life, when she was traveling in France for a book tour and under contract to create songs for a new children’s record company. Brown’s intent was to capture the spirit of a child’s world in her songs as she had done with her stories. As the opening to “The Secret Song” demonstrates, the simple rhymes have Brown’s trademark charm: “Who saw the petals / Drop from the rose? / ‘I,’ said the spider. / ‘But nobody knows.’ / Who saw the sunset / Flash on a bird? / ‘I,’ said the fish. / ‘But nobody heard.’ ” Each song is presented on one double-page spread, each illustrated by a different artist (uncredited until an ending recap), in a rather staid book design that does not rise to meet the buoyancy of the lyrics.

Nevertheless, children will enjoy the whimsical scenes, and adult mavens of children’s literature will appreciate and delight in the background of the discovery. (CD) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4549-0446-5

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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