Princess power saves the day in a humorous antidote to pretty in pink.

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PRINCESS IN TRAINING

Karate-chopping, moat-splashing and skateboard-zooming are much more fun for Princess Viola than tiara-wearing and hand-waving.

When the royal post delivers a letter of invitation to attend Camp Princess, Viola is keen to try it, for who would not want to be “the darling” of one’s kingdom, as Madame Gertrude, the Director, promises. Alas, though the Princess tries hard at all things properly royal, she reverts to true form and enhances her actions by chopping instead of waving, splashing instead of walking and zooming instead of waltzing. Is all lost? Never! The night of the camp’s Royal Bash, Viola employs her skills to best a hungry, bright-green dragon and returns home in triumph. Sauer, who likes spunk in her characters, writes with brisk humor, employing action verbs to great effect. Berger, an animator and cartoonist, uses a mix of pencil, wax crayon, brush pen and Photoshop to create art with comic-book flair, complete with panels and exploding fonts. His palette of hot pink, lavender, blue and orange pulsates with energy. And, necessary for any princess outing, a generous dollop of glitter adorns the cover.

Princess power saves the day in a humorous antidote to pretty in pink. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-15-206599-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year.

LOVE MONSTER AND THE LAST CHOCOLATE

From the Love Monster series

The surprised recipient of a box of chocolates agonizes over whether to eat the whole box himself or share with his friends.

Love Monster is a chocoholic, so when he discovers the box on his doorstep, his mouth waters just thinking about what might be inside; his favorite’s a double chocolate strawberry swirl. The brief thought that he should share these treats with his friends is easily rationalized away. Maybe there won’t be enough for everyone, perhaps someone will eat his favorite, or, even worse, leave him with his least favorite: the coffee one! Bright’s pacing and tone are on target throughout, her words conveying to readers exactly what the monster is thinking and feeling: “So he went into his house. And so did the box of chocolates…without a whisper of a word to anyone.” This is followed by a “queasy-squeezy” feeling akin to guilt and then by a full-tilt run to his friends, chocolates in hand, and a breathless, stream-of-consciousness confession, only to be brought up short by what’s actually in the box. And the moral is just right: “You see, sometimes it’s when you stop to think of others…that you start to find out just how much they think of you.” Monster’s wide eyes and toothy mouth convey his emotions wonderfully, and the simple backgrounds keep the focus on his struggle.

A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-00-754030-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun.

CLOTHESLINE CLUES TO JOBS PEOPLE DO

From the Clothesline Clues series

Heling and Hembrook’s clever conceit challenges children to analyze a small town’s clotheslines to guess the job each of their owners does. 

Close-up on the clothesline: “Uniform and cap, / an invite for you. / Big bag of letters. / What job does she do?” A turn of the page reveals a macro view of the home, van and the woman doing her job, “She is a mail carrier.” Indeed, she can be spotted throughout the book delivering invitations to all the rest of the characters, who gather at the end for a “Launch Party.” The verses’ rhymes are spot-on, though the rhythm falters a couple of times. The authors nicely mix up the gender stereotypes often associated with several of these occupations, making the carpenter, firefighter and astronaut women. But while Davies keeps uniforms and props pretty neutral (he even avoids U.S. mail symbols), he keeps to the stereotypes that allow young readers to easily identify occupations—the farmer chews on a stalk of wheat; the beret-wearing artist sports a curly mustache. A subdued palette and plain white backgrounds keep kids’ focus on the clothing clues. Still, there are plenty of details to absorb—the cat with arched back that anticipates a spray of water, the firefighter who “lights” the rocket.

Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58089-251-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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