A doff of the cap to the septuagenarian new monarch, more affectionate than satirical.

Oh dear, oh dear! Heavy lies the royal crown on King Charles III’s head.

Worried lest the royal diadem not look as right on him as on his late lamented mum, the kingster follows his wife’s advice and heads for his “Happy Place.” That would be the royal garden, because “he could potter there for hours / with honey bees and birds and trees, / and butterflies and flowers.” There he meets Tom, the White-presenting royal gardener, who reminds him that he has many hats to wear—from a shower cap in the bath to a hard hat while joining workers at a construction site, from a rain hat when meeting farmers to a hairnet when touring a bakery—and so the crown is just one more, to be sported on public occasions: “And you will smile and wave. / Your crown is very heavy, / But remember… / …kings are brave.” Though the sight of the famously stiff new monarch cavorting wildly with children at a party and gamboling about the garden, kilt flapping in the breeze, may push an incredulous chortle past the stiffest upper lip, Beech does get the prominent royal nose and ears just right in his scribbly cartoon pictures. Crowd scenes offer racially diverse groups of onlookers, and a statue of Queen Victoria, scowling at the pigeon on her head, adds a suitably irreverent note to the close. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A doff of the cap to the septuagenarian new monarch, more affectionate than satirical. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 18, 2023

ISBN: 9781803381350

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Welbeck Flame

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023


Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022


A unique angle on a watershed moment in the civil rights era.

The New Orleans school child who famously broke the color line in 1960 while surrounded by federal marshals describes the early days of her experience from a 6-year-old’s perspective.

Bridges told her tale to younger children in 2009’s Ruby Bridges Goes to School, but here the sensibility is more personal, and the sometimes-shocking historical photos have been replaced by uplifting painted scenes. “I didn’t find out what being ‘the first’ really meant until the day I arrived at this new school,” she writes. Unfrightened by the crowd of “screaming white people” that greets her at the school’s door (she thinks it’s like Mardi Gras) but surprised to find herself the only child in her classroom, and even the entire building, she gradually realizes the significance of her act as (in Smith’s illustration) she compares a small personal photo to the all-White class photos posted on a bulletin board and sees the difference. As she reflects on her new understanding, symbolic scenes first depict other dark-skinned children marching into classes in her wake to friendly greetings from lighter-skinned classmates (“School is just school,” she sensibly concludes, “and kids are just kids”) and finally an image of the bright-eyed icon posed next to a soaring bridge of reconciliation. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A unique angle on a watershed moment in the civil rights era. (author and illustrator notes, glossary) (Autobiographical picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-75388-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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