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Sibling feuds are seldom so tidily resolved, but rarely has the suggestion been so prettily made that they could be.

Seven princesses are inseparable until “the biggest fight in the entire history of princess fighting” leaves them all sulking in separate towers.

Though Coh’s claim that the princesses “could not have been more different” is an overstatement, she does give them a range of clothing styles, skin hues (their royal mom has darker skin than their ginger-haired, white dad), and individual interests. The eldest, Rosamund, loves “math and building,” for instance, while Indigo is a swimmer, and little Violet is into “basically anything involving the arts.” They live in a pointy-roofed castle set amid trees that look like bunches of balloons—until the fight, after which the colors drain away to a few pale highlights on dull beige, and the entire land is left in barren, dreary silence. Finally, one “extra gray day,” Violet finds an old crayon drawing of all seven smiling together, and as it makes each princess recall happier times, the illustrations brighten again. By the end, the royal clan harmoniously gathers for a new family portrait (with lots of flowers and kittens underfoot for extra cuteness). Neither the touchstone drawing nor the cascade of minor complaints that caused the spat is particularly memorable; it’s the story’s overall arc and the herd of wide-eyed, expressively posed, doll-like princesses that will likely make the stronger impressions on young readers.

Sibling feuds are seldom so tidily resolved, but rarely has the suggestion been so prettily made that they could be. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 24, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7624-5587-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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Cuándo quieras un perro feliz, look no further.

A young Latine boy finally gets to rescue the dog of his dreams, but training can be a challenge in two languages.

Like many children, José has been dreaming of having a pet of his own, specifically un perro, a dog. Like any good owner, José promptly begins training his new canine companion but soon realizes his rescue mutt, Feliz, knows only words in English. This is a problem because in José’s home everyone speaks both Spanish and English. José and Feliz must rise to the challenge; fortunately, treats and snuggles are great motivators. The narrative uses Spanish words and phrases throughout (“perros blancos,” “¡Yo quiero este!” “¡Sientate!”), usually with English context clues for understanding. This is complex vocabulary for an early reader, and the shifting in phonics from English to Spanish will be challenging for true beginners; the book is best suited for intermediate to advanced readers in dual-language classrooms or homes. Much like Feliz, however, it is sure to find a loving (and bilingual) home. Cheerful illustrations complement the text, helping readers make sense of the narrative. While José and his mother are darker-skinned, his father and sister are lighter-skinned. (This review has been updated for accuracy.)

Cuándo quieras un perro feliz, look no further. (glossary of Spanish-English words) (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 25, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-52116-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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An effective early chapter book conveyed in a slightly overdone gag.

Epistolary dispatches from the eternal canine/feline feud.

Simon the cat is angry. He had done a good job taking care of his boy, Andy, but now that Andy’s parents are divorced, a dog named Baxter has moved into Andy’s dad’s house. Simon believes that there isn’t enough room in Andy’s life for two furry friends, so he uses the power of the pen to get Baxter to move out. Inventively for the early-chapter-book format, the story is told in letters written back and forth; Simon’s are impeccably spelled on personalized stationery while Baxter’s spelling slowly improves through the letters he scrawls on scraps of paper. A few other animals make appearances—a puffy-lipped goldfish who for some reason punctuates her letter with “Blub…blub…” seems to be the only female character (cued through stereotypical use of eyelashes and red lipstick), and a mustachioed snail ferries the mail to and fro. White-appearing Andy is seen playing with both animals as a visual background to the text, as is his friend Noah (a dark-skinned child who perhaps should not be nicknamed “N Man”). Cat lovers will appreciate Simon’s prickliness while dog aficionados will likely enjoy Baxter’s obtuse enthusiasm, and all readers will learn about the time and patience it takes to overcome conflict and jealousy with someone you dislike.

An effective early chapter book conveyed in a slightly overdone gag. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4492-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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