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THE QUEEN'S HAT

Happily close to the most recent royal birth, this whimsical, British-themed picture book provides a kidcentric introduction...

Pursued by a corgi sporting an argyle vest, a cartoonish queen figure runs through London chasing her hat, which is being whisked away by a strong breeze.

The humorous chase takes readers on a whistle-stop tour of all the tourist sights, from Buckingham Palace through Trafalgar Square, London Zoo (animal chaos), down into the Underground, ’round the London Eye, over Tower Bridge, up and down Big Ben, and finally to Kensington Palace, where, miraculously, the hat lands gently on the head of the royal baby being pushed in a pram. Of course a queen can’t run through London unattended; she is aided in her pursuit of the hat by increasing numbers of identical royal guards, dressed in traditional tall busby hats, who fill up every available space. These figures add a repetitive decorative element, and ranks of them appear like wallpaper on the endpapers and cover. Attractively designed with effective use of white space, the book is eye-catching and amusing and has a surreal element that kids will love. A helpful glossary provides additional facts about London landmarks.

Happily close to the most recent royal birth, this whimsical, British-themed picture book provides a kidcentric introduction to the geography of London and a great opportunity for spontaneous counting and observation activities. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-83556-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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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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