ZEPHYR TAKES FLIGHT

Zephyr, a buoyant, gum-chewing lass obsessed with airplanes, achieves a fantastical flight—and gets home in time for breakfast—in this enjoyable romp.

Grandma, Daddy and Mom are all too busy to play. Executing her “triple loop-de-loop spectacular” off the couch with her toy plane, she crashes into a cabinet full of bric-a-brac. Banished to her room, she sends a paper airplane behind her dresser. There, she discovers a small door leading into a “wondrous place” full of flying machines and propellers and with a desk full of books and maps. Climbing aboard the “FS Bessie” (Light’s nod to pioneering flyer Bessie Coleman), Zephyr’s off. “Her triple loop-de-loop spectacular was much more fun in the sky!” Ensuing spreads depict a harmless “BUMP” into a mountainous land where flying pigs dwell in trees. After the dexterous girl fashions paper wings for a flightless piglet, the porcine fliers help power her craft back into the sky. Light’s fountain pens produce boldly inked contours and appealingly frenetic gestural line. Colored pencils and PanPastels in sienna, ochre and yellow effect a mood both sunny and old-timey. Observant readers will note images of Zephyr’s aviator grandfather throughout—clearly, her zeal for flight is inherited. (Flying pigs are a favored collectible in her family, too.) Zipping from fanciful flight to a “triple-hug, triple-pancake spectacular,” Zephyr’s surely not earthbound for long.

Flighty fun. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5695-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it.

THE OLD BOAT

A multigenerational tale of a boat’s life with a Black family, written by two brothers who loved similar boats.

In the opening spread, a smiling, brown-skinned adult dangles a line from the back of a green-and-white boat while a boy peers eagerly over the side at the sea life. The text never describes years passing, but each page turn reveals the boy’s aging, more urban development on the shore, increasing water pollution, marine-life changes (sea jellies abound on one page), and shifting water levels. Eventually, the boy, now a teenager, steers the boat, and as an adult, he fishes alone but must go farther and farther out to sea to make his catch. One day, the man loses his way, capsizes in a storm, and washes up on a small bay island, with the overturned, sunken boat just offshore. Now a “new sailor” cleans up the land and water with others’ help. The physical similarities between the shipwrecked sailor and the “new sailor” suggest that this is not a new person but one whose near-death experience has led to an epiphany that changes his relationship to water. As the decaying boat becomes a new marine habitat, the sailor teaches the next generation (a child with hair in two Afro puffs) to fish. Focusing primarily on the sea, the book’s earth-toned illustrations, created with hundreds of stamps, carry the compelling plot.

A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00517-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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A chuckle-inducing, entirely worthy stand-alone follow-up to the terrific The Princess in Black (2014).

THE PRINCESS IN BLACK AND THE PERFECT PRINCESS PARTY

From the Princess in Black series , Vol. 2

Princess Magnolia’s perfect birthday party’s threatened by constant monster alarms, summoning her secret identity again and again.

Prim, proper Princess Magnolia is all decked out in her pink finery, awaiting the arrival of a dozen ethnically diverse fellow-princess party guests for her birthday when her monster-alarm ring goes off. She changes attire and personas, becoming the heroic Princess in Black. Working swiftly, she saves a goat from a hungry monster and gets back to her palace in time to welcome her guests. But just when she thinks she’s in the clear and ready to open her presents, off goes her monster-alarm ring again! This pattern—Magnolia is just about to open presents when her alarm goes off, she comes up with a distraction for the princesses, defeats a monster, and returns just in time—continues through the book. It’s enhanced by visual gags, such as Magnolia’s increasingly flustered appearance, and hilarious depictions of the various ways monsters try to eat goats, from between giant pieces of bread to in a giant ice cream cone. A side character, the fittingly named Princess Sneezewort, frequently comes close to discovering Magnolia’s secret. In the end, Magnolia can’t take the constant interruptions anymore, yelling at a monster that it’s her birthday—the monster, abashed, ends up helping her in one last distraction for the other princesses.

A chuckle-inducing, entirely worthy stand-alone follow-up to the terrific The Princess in Black (2014). (Fantasy. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6511-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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