Dragon lovers—and all who enjoy being teased by playful disconnects between text and pictures—will be plenty happy indeed.

READ REVIEW

THIS BOOK IS NOT ABOUT DRAGONS

A mouse’s repeated and resolute denial of dragons is sorely tested by one fiery disaster after another.

Stoutly refusing to notice the outsized claws, fanged muzzles, spiked tails, and jagged shadows visible in each illustration, the minuscule narrator marches through a smoky forest, past a house that is converted to flaming wreckage on the next page, and through a town whose residents (of diverse species and skin colors) flee fiery destruction. Eventually the titular claim rings hollow even to the mouse, who then frantically tries to prevent readers from turning the page: “NOOOOOOO!” As if. And, indeed, the following spread is “FULL OF DRAGONS!”: horned, toothy, and gleefully pursuing the hapless narrator. Starting with “crumpled paper and various incendiary devices,” Koehler creates a set of brightly colored dragons set in singed collage scenes and closes with the mouse resentfully erasing the “Not” from a reproduction of the volume’s cover: “I hope you are happy.” Display type with jagged edges that emulate licking flames is a nice touch, as are the faux holes stray embers have burnt through the pages.

Dragon lovers—and all who enjoy being teased by playful disconnects between text and pictures—will be plenty happy indeed. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62979-168-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Likely to be an instant hobbyhorse for young lovers of equestrian magic.

HEARTSONG'S MISSING FOAL

Sisters venture into the secret Enchanted Realm to help a unicorn foal.

The Enchanted Realm is kept secret to protect unicorns from humans; only the Unicorn Guardians (always two little girls) have keys to the Magic Gate. The current guardians are sisters Iris and Ruby, who have newly inherited the keys from their mother and aunt. The sisters are excited for the first birth of a unicorn foal since they took over. But when the foal’s mother, Heartsong, doesn’t return from the Fairy Forest (where unicorns birth), the two must venture in to find out what’s wrong. Heartsong is trapped by maze weed, a magic plant that quickly becomes a leafy labyrinth around them. Luckily (if inexplicably), Heartsong’s foal is on the outside of the maze and helps them find their way (extremely easily) by creating magical stars, and thus is dubbed Starsong. Though Heartsong doesn’t want to leave the forest, she obeys the girls. The next day, Heartsong’s agitation to get back to the forest prompts the realization that she likely had twins, so the girls return to rescue the missing twin from mild but inventive peril. The magic is as kid friendly as the large type and short sentences. Picturesque settings and attractive equines populate the black-and-white illustrations, which depict the girls as white. The book’s strongest element is characterization: Younger Ruby’s bolder while responsible Iris must actively decide to face her fears and plan how to succeed. The next three series titles (Unicorn Uncovered, Stolen Magic, and The Red Key) publish simultaneously.

Likely to be an instant hobbyhorse for young lovers of equestrian magic. (Fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63163-391-1

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Jolly Fish Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Sweet and spunky.

THE BIG SECRET

From the Tales of Sasha series , Vol. 1

A young horse discovers the magical reason why she doesn’t fit in.

Sasha isn’t like the other horses in her herd. She loves running and craves adventure more than the others, especially her ladylike older sisters. She struggles in school with an “itchy feeling” of anticipation, which leaves her fidgety, unable to stay still or pay attention. As much as she tries to behave, she can’t fight her desire to run and jump—especially to jump. When the white patch on her back, the itching’s source, begins to sparkle, she goes to her parents for answers and gets more than she expected. Sasha was adopted; she joined their family as a newborn when, during a huge thunderstorm, a blast of sparkling rainbow lightning left Sasha behind with a letter asking her parents to take care of her. Wanting to know more, Sasha and her best friend go hiking at the mountain where her parents found her. Near the top of the mountain, an accidentally-too-enthusiastic jump launches Sasha off the mountain—whereupon she sprouts wings from her white patch and flies. Energetic readers will relate to Sasha’s manic, kinetic energy and envy her flight abilities. The sequel, Journey Beyond the Trees, releasing simultaneously, continues bold Sasha’s quest for answers as she travels in search of her kind. Gentle black-and-white art emphasizes the horses’ expressive eyes and manes.

Sweet and spunky. (Fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0390-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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