THE PRINCESSES HAVE A BALL

Maybe princesses used to dream of marrying princes and dancing at formal balls, but here are twelve contemporary ones with something else in mind. Their puzzled royal father can’t figure out how they go through elegant shoes so rapidly, but a young cobbler cottons on: “It’s strange, / but it’s clear to me / that these shoes were worn out / athletically.” A bit of nocturnal spying tells the tale—the princesses have taken to spending every night shooting hoops on an underground court. The cobbler proceeds to invent high-tops, and in no time the royal court’s being treated to a “ball” of a different sort. Cravath (I Hate Weddings, not reviewed, etc.) depicts smiling princesses of varied hair and skin color in bright, cleanly drawn watercolors; King dad looks like a typical suburban father, wearing a knit shirt under his fur-trimmed cape and ensconced in a Barcalounger with his TV remote. Wisely, the cobbler makes dad his own high-tops since he’ll need them as the referee. Bateman’s (Hunting the Daddyosaurus, p. 176, etc.) ear for rhythm fails her at times, but her rhymed update of this classic tale trips cheerfully along nonetheless. (Picture book/folktale. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-8075-6626-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2002

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Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization.

A PLACE FOR PLUTO

If Pluto can’t be a planet—then what is he?

Having been a regular planet for “the better part of forever,” Pluto is understandably knocked out of orbit by his sudden exclusion. With Charon and his four other moons in tow he sets off in search of a new identity. Unfortunately, that only spins him into further gloom, as he doesn’t have a tail like his friend Halley’s comet, is too big to join Ida and the other asteroids, and feels disinclined to try to crash into Earth like meteoroids Gem and Persi. Then, just as he’s about to plunge into a black hole of despair, an encounter with a whole quartet of kindred spheroids led by Eris rocks his world…and a follow-up surprise party thrown by an apologetic Saturn (“Dwarf planet has a nice RING to it”) and the other seven former colleagues literally puts him “over the moon.” Demmer gives all the heavenly bodies big eyes (some, including the feminine Saturn, with long lashes) and, on occasion, short arms along with distinctive identifying colors or markings. Dressing the troublemaking meteoroids in do-rags and sunglasses sounds an off note. Without mentioning that the reclassification is still controversial, Wade closes with a (somewhat) straighter account of Pluto’s current official status and the reasons for it.

Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-004-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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DORY STORY

Who is next in the ocean food chain? Pallotta has a surprising answer in this picture book glimpse of one curious boy. Danny, fascinated by plankton, takes his dory and rows out into the ocean, where he sees shrimp eating those plankton, fish sand eels eating shrimp, mackerel eating fish sand eels, bluefish chasing mackerel, tuna after bluefish, and killer whales after tuna. When an enormous humpbacked whale arrives on the scene, Danny’s dory tips over and he has to swim for a large rock or become—he worries’someone’s lunch. Surreal acrylic illustrations in vivid blues and red extend the story of a small boy, a small boat, and a vast ocean, in which the laws of the food chain are paramount. That the boy has been bathtub-bound during this entire imaginative foray doesn’t diminish the suspense, and the facts Pallotta presents are solidly researched. A charming fish tale about the one—the boy—that got away. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-075-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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