Readers are transported into a wintry wonderland of exuberant bliss in this picture book that speaks to those who like to...

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A lone skater, pale-skinned and dark-haired in a red knit cap and mittens, swoops across the white expanse of each double-page spread in this wordless picture book that celebrates companionship and play.

At first reveling in solitary freedom, the figure flies across the ice, skates carving a symphony of lines in the surface with graceful spins, leaps, and turns. Eventually tumbling and crashing to the ground, the skater comes to a skidding halt. Next readers see a crumpled piece of paper, the little skater apparently no more than the figment of an artist’s imagination. But wait! The wad of paper is flattened out, and there’s the skater, alone and forlorn, on a smudged and wrinkled background, until another child comes along, then another and another. Soon the page is filled with joyful children of varying skin tones and hair colors—and even a bounding dog—skating and throwing snowballs on a pond surrounded by snow and trees. The deft pencil illustrations convey movement and emotion so effectively that words are superfluous.

Readers are transported into a wintry wonderland of exuberant bliss in this picture book that speaks to those who like to explore the boundaries of creative expression. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5665-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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A feel-good picture book and a great reminder that classic princess roles can be reimagined to embrace inclusion, diversity,...

NOT QUITE SNOW WHITE

A little black girl holds true to her dream that on the theater stage you can be whatever you want—even if it’s Snow White.

Tameika is a bubbly, outgoing singer and dancer who loves the stage. She has played various roles, such as a cucumber, a space cowgirl, and a dinosaur, but never a princess. This charming tale tackles the complex subject of biases around race and body image when Tameika overhears her classmates’ whispers: “She can’t be Snow White”; “She’s much too chubby”; “And she’s too brown.” Tameika goes on a journey of self-acceptance as she grapples with her feelings about wanting to be a princess. Glenn’s playful, animation-inspired digital art will enchant readers as it immerses them in Tameika’s vivid imagination. New fans may seek out her previous work in Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow’s Mommy’s Khimar (2018) and Michelle Meadows’ Brave Ballerina (2019). The vibrant colors and active compositions enhance the story, reflecting Tameika’s changing emotions and her interactions with her parents, whose positive affirmations help give Tameika the courage and self-love to remember how much joy she gets from performing. For kids who like to imagine themselves being anything they want to be, it is reassuring to be reminded that it’s not exterior looks that matter but the princess within.

A feel-good picture book and a great reminder that classic princess roles can be reimagined to embrace inclusion, diversity, and body positivity. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-279860-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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A snort-inducing lesson of both bravery and preparation.

THE BEAR MUST GO ON

Four woodland animal friends put on a show.

Rabbit, Squirrel, and aptly named Other Squirrel (who has slightly redder fur than Squirrel) are a flurry of activity. They are going to put on a show. “A BIG show.…The BEST show!” It will have hats (tall ones), tickets (shiny ones), and a curtain (red—no, green). There are many decisions to be made. Bear, however, does not want to be part of it. He is too shy. He would prefer to be the note taker. Rabbit, Squirrel, and Other Squirrel fire off ideas, amending one another’s at furious speed, and Bear writes them all down. Scribbles appear in the white space surrounding the boulderlike ursine’s head. The ideas pile up; debut illustrator Todd deftly covers an entire page while Bear hunches in the middle, furiously writing. He hums a tune to keep himself calm. On the night of the performance, everything seems ready. Everything except…the show! They were so bogged down with the details, no one figured out what the show would be. The title gives away the ending from the very start, but Bear’s pluck is nevertheless laudable. Petty’s comedic quips are echoed in the frenzied art, with Bear looming large yet timid to ground it all. Limited, skilled use of panels helps to control the pacing.

A snort-inducing lesson of both bravery and preparation. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-3747-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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