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

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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This tale of self-acceptance and respect for one’s roots is breathtaking.

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EYES THAT KISS IN THE CORNERS

A young Chinese American girl sees more than the shape of her eyes.

In this circular tale, the unnamed narrator observes that some peers have “eyes like sapphire lagoons / with lashes like lace trim on ballgowns,” but her eyes are different. She “has eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea.” Author Ho’s lyrical narrative goes on to reveal how the girl’s eyes are like those of other women and girls in her family, expounding on how each pair of eyes looks and what they convey. Mama’s “eyes sparkl[e] like starlight,” telling the narrator, “I’m a miracle. / In those moments when she’s all mine.” Mama’s eyes, the girl observes, take after Amah’s. While she notes that her grandmother’s eyes “don’t work like they used to,” they are able to see “all the way into my heart” and tell her stories. Here, illustrator Ho’s spreads bloom with references to Chinese stories and landscapes. Amah’s eyes are like those of the narrator’s little sister. Mei-Mei’s eyes are filled with hope and with admiration for her sister. Illustrator Ho’s textured cartoons and clever use of light and shadow exude warmth and whimsy that match the evocative text. When the narrator comes to describe her own eyes and acknowledges the power they hold, she is posed against swirling patterns, figures, and swaths of breathtaking landscapes from Chinese culture. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 80.5% of actual size.)

This tale of self-acceptance and respect for one’s roots is breathtaking. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-291562-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

ROBOBABY

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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