A modest call to individuality.

READ REVIEW

BIRDIE'S BIG-GIRL DRESS

From the Birdie series

A young fashionista finds the perfect fit.

Birdie steps away from trendy footwear (Birdie's Big-Girl Shoes, 2009) when she realizes her too-snug party dress simply won't do. This birthday girl models an array of choices at the nearby boutique (“fabulously frilly sundress,” “lacy sheath” and “gauzy gown” included) but none feel "just like her." A return trip home and up the attic stairs reveals eclectic finery to suit the event—and her personality to boot. It's refreshing that Birdie's posh mom (her elongated figure emphasizes each sophisticated move) is far from rigid; this supportive parent encourages her daughter's mismatched ensemble, a hodgepodge of her grandpa's vest and bow-tie with flowing, boldly pattered skirt and whimsical, floral head-piece. As Birdie shimmies into each potentially restrictive outfit, Rim's illustrations capture each half-hearted shrug and sucked-in breath. Collage and watercolor accents lend a sensory feel to chromatic, textured design, though it's a pity the narration does not match the illustrations' or its subject's exuberance. The inclusion of Birdie's friends appears as an afterthought, but canine companion Monster remains a supportive secondary choice, dressed to the nines in his top hat to rave reviews (“Monster felt so… dapper!”).

A modest call to individuality. (Picture book. 3-5) 

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-316-13287-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here.

ONE LOVE

A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus.

Using only the refrain from the original (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!”), the reggae great’s daughter Cedella Marley sees this song as her “happy song” and adapts it for children. However, the adaptation robs it of life. After the opening lines, readers familiar with the original song (or the tourism advertisement for Jamaica) will be humming along only to be stopped by the bland lines that follow: “One love, what the flower gives the bee.” and then “One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree.” Brantley-Newton’s sunny illustrations perfectly reflect the saccharine quality of the text. Starting at the beginning of the day, readers see a little girl first in bed, under a photograph of Bob Marley, the sun streaming into her room, a bird at the window. Each spread is completely redundant—when the text is about family love, the illustration actually shows little hearts floating from her parents to the little girl. An image of a diverse group getting ready to plant a community garden, walking on top of a river accompanies the words “One love, like the river runs to the sea.”

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0224-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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PRINCESSES WEAR PANTS

This book wants to be feminist.

Princess Penelope Pineapple, illustrated as a white girl with dark hair and eyes, is the Amelia Bloomer of the Pineapple Kingdom. She has dresses, but she prefers to wear pants as she engages in myriad activities ranging from yoga to gardening, from piloting a plane to hosting a science fair. When it’s time for the Pineapple Ball, she imagines wearing a sparkly pants outfit, but she worries about Grand Lady Busyboots’ disapproval: “ ‘Pants have no place on a lady!’ she’d say. / ‘That’s how it has been, and that’s how it shall stay.’ ” In a moment of seeming dissonance between the text and art, Penny seems to resolve to wear pants, but then she shows up to the ball in a gown. This apparent contradiction is resolved when the family cat, Miss Fussywiggles, falls from the castle into the moat and Princess Penelope saves her—after stripping off her gown to reveal pink, flowered swimming trunks and a matching top. Impressed, Grand Lady Busyboots resolves that princesses can henceforth wear whatever they wish. While seeing a princess as savior rather than damsel in distress may still seem novel, it seems a stretch to cast pants-wearing as a broadly contested contemporary American feminist issue. Guthrie and Oppenheim’s unimaginative, singsong rhyme is matched in subtlety by Byrne’s bright illustrations.

Skip it . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2603-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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