It’s a promising concept but a pallid conclusion.

READ REVIEW

SLEEPING CINDERELLA AND OTHER PRINCESS MIX-UPS

It rhymes. It has cute crossovers. It has doe-eyed princesses who are unhappy with their lots.

Snow White is tired of cleaning up after seven dwarves, so she takes a walk and discovers the lonely tower of Rapunzel. Rapunzel is all too thrilled to get out, and Snow White wants to be alone, so they switch places. Trailing her impossibly long, blonde locks behind her, Rapunzel meets up with Cinderella, who would rather sleep than go to a ball. Leaving the pumpkin coach to Rapunzel, Cinderella finds Sleeping Beauty’s bed and keels over into it, accidentally kissing the slumberer on the cheek, which wakens her. Bringing the story full circle, the no-longer-sleeping Beauty comes upon the dwarves’ house, where there is Stuff! To! Do! In the end, of course, the princesses sort themselves back out, with Lessons: Snow White gives each dwarf a chore; Rapunzel negotiates a day trip each week; Cinderella opts for college over a prince; and Beauty discovers knitting is less prickly than spinning. Bright colors, strong line, and clearly differentiated hairstyles and clothing do not quite make up for something of a clunker at the end: “So, by talking things through and her problems amending, / each girl truly made her own fairy tale ending.”

It’s a promising concept but a pallid conclusion. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-56564-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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Although the author may be famous in the adult literary world, this story is not a success.

THE MOUNTAIN WHO WANTED TO LIVE IN A HOUSE

A well-known New Zealand writer for adults offers children a tale about an inanimate object who wants to live like a person.

A mountain walks to town, where it meets Thomas, a white boy who stays behind when all the other people flee, and says: “I only want to live in a house.” Thomas decides that the mountain is too large for any house. There is a folkloric element to the tale, as Thomas tries in three ways to help the mountain get his wish. First he attempts to shrink the mountain with soap and water and then chips away at the stone. Finally, he decides that his father, an artist, will paint the mountain’s picture and put it in a house. He persuades the mountain that it can remain a place where people can enjoy picnicking and skiing and still live in a house with people, a Solomonic solution that may not resonate with the intended audience. The acrylic paintings, mostly in shades of brown and gray, are realistically rendered, except when the mountain comes to life with the craggy, anthropomorphized face of a sculpted idol. There is a surrealist, static feel to some of the paintings, and the language, no doubt aspiring as well to the folkloric, is stilted.

Although the author may be famous in the adult literary world, this story is not a success. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-76036-002-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Starfish Bay

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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A resource for the babysitter bookshelf and to prompt conversations about seeing beyond appearances.

THE BABYSITTER FROM ANOTHER PLANET

When Mom and Dad go on a date, the children meet their new babysitter with caution that turns to glee as she soon becomes their favorite sitter.

A strange silhouette, with green rays emanating from her eyes, greets the kids as they scramble under the kitchen table. It’s clear this is no ordinary caregiver. Bull-horned, purple, and reminiscent of a slimmed-down Barbapapa character, this babysitter is definitely an extraterrestrial. But as she cooks, helps with homework, reads, and sings lullabies, she slowly becomes more familiar. The kids are won over when she pulls the ultimate sitter move—letting them stay up late (and play anti-gravity games). Digital illustrations are done in a cool palette using simple blocks of color. The cover parodies the 1950s futuristic aesthetic, from the shape and shading of the flying saucers and car to the modern-style home; distressed display type on the title harkens back to pulp magazines. Unfortunately, while Savage exhibits his signature skill on the cover and title page, the interiors lack the same attention to scale and detail. The mysterious lighting may unsettle more than just the protagonists; this is one to use with children who have had some experience with babysitters already. The family appears to be a multiracial one, with a peach-skinned dad and a light-brown–skinned mom.

A resource for the babysitter bookshelf and to prompt conversations about seeing beyond appearances. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4147-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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