This well-intentioned offering is ultimately too poorly executed to successfully convey its message of female empowerment.

THE SUPER DUPER POWER PRINCESS HEROES

HOW IT ALL BEGAN

This attempt at girl power goes very wrong.

When three little girls—Oceana, Kinney and Sammie—find a shiny silver bag in the woods and open it, a puff of smoke escapes and coalesces into the Fairy Teacher Mother Superstar Queen (whose name is Betty). Betty explains that because they have gentle hearts, the girls have been chosen to receive special tiaras that confer on them magic powers, transforming them into Super Duper Power Princess Heroes. Betty also takes the time to explain some rules: The girls must use their powers to help others, they must work together, and they must remain humble. The excited trio soon spots a prince with his leg stuck under a tree. They manage to both rescue him and correct some of his outdated assumptions. Oceana tells him like it is: “[W]e have way more important things to do than marrying you, like saving the world.” Nambiar’s evident desire to create empowered girl characters and turn the traditional rescue story on its head is worthwhile, but it is that agenda that awkwardly takes center stage here. Minus that, readers are left with a haphazard storyline, prose that tries too hard to be cool and fresh, and unappealing illustrations with an amateur, mangalike feel.

This well-intentioned offering is ultimately too poorly executed to successfully convey its message of female empowerment. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9838243-9-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Umiya Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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Here’s hoping there will be a bunch of Baloney in the future.

BALONEY AND FRIENDS

From the Baloney & Friends series , Vol. 1

A new chapter-book series promises tons of fun for everyone.

Baloney the pig couldn’t be happier about starring in his very own book—until pals Peanut D. Horse, Bizz E. Bee, and Krabbit (a crabby rabbit) crash the introduction, leaving him frustrated. Baloney perseveres and goes on to star in several, short comic book–style stories that often break the fourth wall and that always rely on the very different personalities of the characters to deliver humor. Peanut is a Pollyanna and just a bit daffy. Bizz is a sensible, thoughtful bee-ing. Krabbit is so crabby he’d give Oscar the Grouch a run for his money. Baloney? Well, Baloney is a sensitive sort who, in two longer episodes, wants to entertain his friends with a magic show and join in their fun at swimming. Shorter “mini-comics” between these sections provide good breaks for new readers who are, perhaps, just starting to make their ways through a longer text like this. Pizolli saves the strongest story for last, delivering a sweet and satisfying portrait of Peanut’s kindness to her friend Baloney when he feels blue. And readers needn’t feel blue themselves that the story is over since they can follow handy backmatter instructions to draw their own versions of the simple, line-drawn characters.

Here’s hoping there will be a bunch of Baloney in the future. (Graphic fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-05454-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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A visual and emotional symphony.

TIGER VS. NIGHTMARE

A tiger, with some unusual help, fights off a nightmare.

Tiger’s parents don’t quite believe that the reason she carries extra curry or tacos from the supper table to her bedroom is because she has a monster under her bed, but it’s true. Monster was supposed to scare her long ago, but instead they play together nightly. Then, while Tiger sleeps, Monster scares away Tiger’s horned, multieyed, centipedelike nightmares—until a nightmare with a long-jawed white skull and a changeable, smoky body arrives. It conquers Monster and reaches Tiger. From now on, Tiger and Monster must work together. The plans they implement are brilliant and brave, and their hard-won victory (it takes a few tries) couldn’t be more triumphant, relieving, or empowering. Compositions range from full-bleed spreads to pages holding multiple sequential panels. Using watercolors and pencils, Tetri creates one color-world of inky blues (Monster; nighttime) and another of oranges and yellows (Tiger; daytime). The meanings of each color-world hold nuance and complexity: The nightmares are of the blue world, but so are coziness and small, dear Monster; Tiger’s victory explodes with warm colors like dawn, but she could only achieve it at night. Rich details enhance the setting inconspicuously: Tiger’s parents, also tigers, run a repair shop for flying cars; one parent is Dad while the other is of undesignated gender.

A visual and emotional symphony. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-535-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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