A cotton-candy read for transitional readers.


From the Fairy Mom and Me series , Vol. 2

Fans find more magic mayhem in this sequel to Fairy Mom and Me (2018).

Ella’s good-hearted but inept Fairy Mom just wants to make things better, whether it’s finding a pet bird or enlivening a party. Ella can’t wait to be old enough to use magic herself. She watches as many of Mom’s online lessons with Fairy Tutor Fenella as possible. Until she gets a Computawand of her own, Ella serves as assistant and, in a bit of role reversal, often tells Mom the correct magic codes to undo her messes. Each episodic chapter is told through Ella’s eyes. In one, Fairy Mom disrupts Dad’s important lunch with his boss, Mr. Lee, and his wife, Mrs. Lee. Fairy Mom and Ella just want to find Mrs. Lee’s bird, but in the process they turn into monkeys! Oops. In another, Ella’s Not-Best Friend, Zoe, is underwhelmed by Ella’s birthday party. Fairy Mom is determined to impress with a big cake—but it keeps growing! Large typeface and plenty of dialogue make this easy to read, and the imaginative situations are captured in animated black-and-white cartoon art. In this throwback white-bread world, Dad is the annoyed authoritarian demanding, “No magic.” Characters are one-dimensional, and any diversity comes through secondary characters such as the Asian Lees. Activities at the close include a recipe as well as a word scramble, maze, and drawing prompt.

A cotton-candy read for transitional readers. (Fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6991-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids.


Little girls are given encouragement and assurance so they can meet the challenges of life as they move through the big, wide world.

Delicately soft watercolor-style art depicts naturalistic scenes with a diverse quintet of little girls portraying potential situations they will encounter, as noted by a narrative heavily dependent on a series of clichés. “The stars are high, and you can reach them,” it promises as three of the girls chase fireflies under a star-filled night sky. “Oceans run deep, and you will learn to swim,” it intones as one girl treads water and another leans over the edge of a boat to observe life on the ocean floor. “Your feet will take many steps, my brave little girl. / Let your heart lead the way.” Girls gingerly step across a brook before making their way through a meadow. The point of all these nebulous metaphors seems to be to inculcate in girls the independence, strength, and confidence they’ll need to succeed in their pursuits. Trying new things, such as foods, is a “delicious new adventure.” Though the quiet, gentle text is filled with uplifting words that parents will intuitively relate to or comprehend, the esoteric messages may be a bit sentimental and ambiguous for kids to understand or even connect to. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30072-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Produced to celebrate the National Park Service’s upcoming centenary, a breezy invitation to prospective travelers to “get...


A family road trip through several national parks transforms young Jane’s feelings about missing out on a summer of online fun with her friends.

“There’s absolutely nothing to see here,” Jane emails fretfully as her family drives through the scenic Smoky Mountains and canoes past alligators and manatees in the Everglades. But once her dad gets her to put the tablet away and look through a telescope at the night skies over Big Bend National Park, her attitude transforms: “OH WOW!” Soon she’s tiptoeing over the Grand Canyon’s Skywalk like an acrobat, playing pirate on a raft down the Colorado River, scouting out “Mountain lions, buffalo, and bears. Oh my!” in Yellowstone—and, discovering that she’s misplaced her electronic device, sending written postcards to her friends from Yosemite. Furthermore, once back home, what better way to debrief than a backyard cookout under the stars? Giving blonde Jane and the rest of her white family broad, pleasant features, Rogers sends them smiling and singing their way through a succession of natural wonders, with bears and bald eagles, footnotes (adult supervision required on the Skywalk, for instance), and only a few fellow, occasionally diverse tourists in the background. Endpaper maps track the long itinerary, and a (select) list of other national parks and sites in each state offers more destinations.

Produced to celebrate the National Park Service’s upcoming centenary, a breezy invitation to prospective travelers to “get out there!” (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-246835-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

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