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THE QUEEN'S HANDBAG

A jolly British lark but with somewhat limited educational value.

In a second wacky tale about the British monarch, Antony shows the high jinks that ensue when the queen’s most precious accessory is snatched by a swan.

The cartoonish queen figure and her corgi give chase through the streets of London and all over Britain, pursued by an ever growing phalanx of uniformed police officers. From London, the energetic royal and her dog drive through Stonehenge, bike to the white cliffs of Dover, fly to Oxford, parachute into Snowdonia, navigate the Giant’s Causeway in a boat, catch a train past the Angel of the North to Edinburgh Castle, and ride back to London on horseback. The sneaky swan is finally apprehended at the finish line of the London Marathon. As in predecessor The Queen’s Hat (2015), the police appear to be identical, but on closer inspection there are amusing variations: a druid appears in Stonehenge, the Mad Hatter rides a bike, one wears a kilt and another’s in Union Jack underwear, and a camel and a panda can be found in the marathon crowd. Kids will enjoy the opportunities for Where’s Waldo–style observation in the neat, repetitive colored-pencil drawings, which continue from the cover throughout the book, including front and rear endpapers. Brief closing notes on the landmarks depicted follow the caper, but they won’t do much to fill in the gaps for readers unfamiliar with the geography.

A jolly British lark but with somewhat limited educational value. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-03293-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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MAYBE

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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CINDERELLA

From the Once Upon a World series

A nice but not requisite purchase.

A retelling of the classic fairy tale in board-book format and with a Mexican setting.

Though simplified for a younger audience, the text still relates the well-known tale: mean-spirited stepmother, spoiled stepsisters, overworked Cinderella, fairy godmother, glass slipper, charming prince, and, of course, happily-ever-after. What gives this book its flavor is the artwork. Within its Mexican setting, the characters are olive-skinned and dark-haired. Cultural references abound, as when a messenger comes carrying a banner announcing a “FIESTA” in beautiful papel picado. Cinderella is the picture of beauty, with her hair up in ribbons and flowers and her typically Mexican many-layered white dress. The companion volume, Snow White, set in Japan and illustrated by Misa Saburi, follows the same format. The simplified text tells the story of the beautiful princess sent to the forest by her wicked stepmother to be “done away with,” the dwarves that take her in, and, eventually, the happily-ever-after ending. Here too, what gives the book its flavor is the artwork. The characters wear traditional clothing, and the dwarves’ house has the requisite shoji screens, tatami mats and cherry blossoms in the garden. The puzzling question is, why the board-book presentation? Though the text is simplified, it’s still beyond the board-book audience, and the illustrations deserve full-size books.

A nice but not requisite purchase. (Board book/fairy tale. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7915-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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