Though mostly of regional interest, this could easily be paired with other female tall tales, such as Anne Isaacs and Paul...

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PRICKLY ROSE

“If it weren’t for the Rose girls, what would Alaska be?”

According to this original tall tale, Alaska would be missing many geographic and topographic features if it weren’t for the feats of Sitka and Prickly Rose. “Legend says the Rose girls / towered ten feet tall. / Truth is, Sitka did so; / Prickly not at all.” When Sitka mushes toward Nome, Prickly, as her name suggests, feels left out and declares she won’t be stuck at home. She jumps aboard two orcas and creates a tsunami when she falls off; she rides a “glacier bear”; she yanks the moon and forms tides; she stomps and causes both an earthquake and a volcanic eruption. Just when Prickly’s sour luck runs out, Sitka bursts from the northern lights driving a team of wolverines, and sisterly love erupts. This story follows Gill’s previous picture book, Sitka Rose, illustrated by Shannon Cartwright (2005), checking off expected Alaska attractions (Denali, the Yukon River) and folding in Alaska slang (williwaws, skookum). The rhyming text tends to hamper the flow of the tale, but the wild and woolly story is animated with boisterous illustrations that exaggerate the hijinks. A map in the backmatter pinpoints the locations of the episodes.

Though mostly of regional interest, this could easily be paired with other female tall tales, such as Anne Isaacs and Paul Zelinsky’s Swamp Angel (1994), Jerdine Nolen and Kadir Nelson’s Thunder Rose (2003) and Lynne Bertrand and Kevin Hawkes’ Granite Baby (2005) . (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-57091-356-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference.

SOFIA VALDEZ, FUTURE PREZ

From the Questioneers series

Sofia Valdez proves that community organizers of any age can have a positive impact.

After a trash-heap eyesore causes an injury to her beloved abuelo, Sofia springs into action to bring big change to her neighborhood. The simple rhymes of the text follow Sofia on her journey from problem through ideas to action as she garners community support for an idyllic new park to replace the dangerous junk pile. When bureaucracy threatens to quash Sofia’s nascent plan, she digs deep and reflects that “being brave means doing the thing you must do, / though your heart cracks with fear. / Though you’re just in Grade Two.” Sofia’s courage yields big results and inspires those around her to lend a hand. Implied Latinx, Sofia and her abuelo have medium brown skin, and Sofia has straight brown hair (Abuelo is bald). Readers will recognize Iggy Peck, Rosie Revere, and Ada Twist from Beaty’s previous installments in the Questioneers series making cameo appearances in several scenes. While the story connects back to the title and her aptitude for the presidency in only the second-to-last sentence of the book, Sofia’s leadership and grit are themes throughout. Roberts’ signature illustration style lends a sense of whimsy; detailed drawings will have readers scouring each page for interesting minutiae.

Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3704-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

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Action, clever humor, delightful illustrations and expectation-defying secret identities—when does the next one come out?

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THE PRINCESS IN BLACK

From the Princess in Black series , Vol. 1

Perfect Princess Magnolia has a secret—her alter ego is the Princess in Black, a superhero figure who protects the kingdom!

When nosy Duchess Wigtower unexpectedly drops by Princess Magnolia’s castle, Magnolia must protect her secret identity from the duchess’s prying. But then Magnolia’s monster alarm, a glitter-stone ring, goes off. She must save the day, leaving the duchess unattended in her castle. After a costume change, the Princess in Black joins her steed, Blacky (public identity: Frimplepants the unicorn), to protect Duff the goat boy and his goats from a shaggy, blue, goat-eating monster. When the monster refuses to see reason, Magnolia fights him, using special moves like the “Sparkle Slam” and the “Twinkle Twinkle Little Smash.” The rounded, cartoony illustrations featuring chubby characters keep the fight sequence soft and comical. Watching the fight, Duff notices suspicious similarities between the Princess in Black and Magnolia—quickly dismissed as “a silly idea”—much like the duchess’s dismissal of some discovered black stockings as being simply dirty, as “princesses don’t wear black.” The gently ironic text will amuse readers (including adults reading the book aloud). The large print and illustrations expand the book to a longish-yet-manageable length, giving newly independent readers a sense of accomplishment. The ending hints at another hero, the Goat Avenger.

Action, clever humor, delightful illustrations and expectation-defying secret identities—when does the next one come out? (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6510-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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