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GOLDILOCKS FOR DINNER

A FUNNY BOOK ABOUT MANNERS

Mannered, yes. Containing advice on manners? Not so much.

Mind your manners? Don’t mind if they do!

Having lost the ickiness contest in Who’s the Grossest of Them All? (2016), buddies Troll and Goblin have now abandoned entirely any desire to be disgusting themselves. Instead, they’ve turned their attention toward children, those “wretched” little beasts that they consider uniformly rude. Concocting a plan, the two decide to find the rudest child and have it for dinner. Turns out, this is more difficult than planned. Mistress Mary is just contrary, and Simple Simon merely gross. However, when the two hear about Goldilocks, they know they’ve found the kid they want for dinner. The twist at the end is that old chestnut in which the two seeming baddies want to have Goldilocks over for dinner so they can teach her good table manners (never mind that of all her breaches of etiquette, Goldilocks’ behavior during mealtime is hardly her greatest sin). The cartoony illustrations are rendered in ink with digital colors, and the incorporation of Sunday-funnies–style Ben Day dots into them is certainly striking. Caregivers misled by the subtitle may expect more manners tutelage than the book delivers. As a story of baddies thwarted, but not for the reasons you’d expect, it’s passable. As a manners book, don’t expect the Emily Post seal of approval. All humans in the story are pictured as white.

Mannered, yes. Containing advice on manners? Not so much. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-55235-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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IZZY GIZMO AND THE INVENTION CONVENTION

From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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HEY, DUCK!

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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