Next book


The accessibility of the text and the treat of revealing Zelda should especially delight the very young.

Fanciful new animals are introduced in pictures and simple poetry.

When is a goose not just a goose? When she's crossed with another, unlikely animal. Or maybe Zelda's just pretending. A clear overlay produces a fantastic new creature on each right-hand page, and a two-line verse on each left-hand page describes it: "GOOSEPHANT. If I caught a cold, then I suppose / I'd need an hour to blow my nose." Opposite, the yellow goose's body and wing are clearly visible, with elephant legs, ears, tail and trunk overlaid. Readers then get the extra fun of pulling back the clear layer to reveal Zelda the goose beneath. There are 11 animals in all, including a Goosnail, Chamelegoose (whose verse is backgrounded by mottled green camouflage), Googiraffe, Goosey Bee (with a honeycomb background), Goosey Glowworm ("I'm not afraid to go out at night"), Goosquid ("I can squirt out clouds of ink. / Good to hide in—not to drink!"), Goosey Peacock, Ladybug Goose, Whalegoose, and Butterfloose. Loth's final two-page spread offers a nifty poetic lesson. Zelda can pretend to be all of these other creatures, but she's always herself, and just what she wants to be. Loth's minimal illustrations are, as always, perfection, though invented animals (and their names) are hit-and-miss. Backgrounds nicely complement both verses and their matching creatures.

The accessibility of the text and the treat of revealing Zelda should especially delight the very young. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4076-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

Next book


From the Once Upon a World series

A nice but not requisite purchase.

A retelling of the classic fairy tale in board-book format and with a Mexican setting.

Though simplified for a younger audience, the text still relates the well-known tale: mean-spirited stepmother, spoiled stepsisters, overworked Cinderella, fairy godmother, glass slipper, charming prince, and, of course, happily-ever-after. What gives this book its flavor is the artwork. Within its Mexican setting, the characters are olive-skinned and dark-haired. Cultural references abound, as when a messenger comes carrying a banner announcing a “FIESTA” in beautiful papel picado. Cinderella is the picture of beauty, with her hair up in ribbons and flowers and her typically Mexican many-layered white dress. The companion volume, Snow White, set in Japan and illustrated by Misa Saburi, follows the same format. The simplified text tells the story of the beautiful princess sent to the forest by her wicked stepmother to be “done away with,” the dwarves that take her in, and, eventually, the happily-ever-after ending. Here too, what gives the book its flavor is the artwork. The characters wear traditional clothing, and the dwarves’ house has the requisite shoji screens, tatami mats and cherry blossoms in the garden. The puzzling question is, why the board-book presentation? Though the text is simplified, it’s still beyond the board-book audience, and the illustrations deserve full-size books.

A nice but not requisite purchase. (Board book/fairy tale. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7915-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

Next book


Superheroes, and readers, will live happily-ever-after.

Why have fairy tales lasted so long? Maybe it’s because they change with every teller.

It takes surprisingly little effort to turn the Three Little Pigs into superheroes. The Big Bad Wolf basically started out as a supervillain, with the ability to blow a house down, and the pigs had to perform spectacular feats to outwit him. In this picture book, the wolf, locked in the Happily Never After tower, devises a plot to escape. Using rotten eggs and spicy ginger, he creates the Gingerbread Man, who makes his way to a baking contest where the three pigs and other fairy-tale characters are competing to win the key to the city. The Gingerbread Man grabs the key, and not even superhero pigs are fast enough to catch him, but with their secret weapon—mustard (which one of the pigs also uses to bake cookies)—they save the day. The morals: Evil never triumphs, and mustard cookies are delicious. The book’s charm is in the details. There are splotches of mustard on the cookies featured on the endpapers, and a sly-looking mouse is hiding on many of the pages. The story even manages to include more than a dozen fairy-tale figures without seeming frenzied. Evans’ use of shading is so skillful that it almost seems possible to reach out and touch the characters. Most of the human characters are light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Superheroes, and readers, will live happily-ever-after. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-68221-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

Close Quickview