Those going through their own independent phases—and their caregivers—may enjoy this take on a favorite fairy tale.


From the Very Little series

Cinderella as played by a very independent preschooler, housecleaning, Fairy Godmother (babysitter), missing yellow boot, and all.

Very Little Cinderella is “cleaning” the house kid-style—as when kids clean and it’s actually dirtier than when they started—when the Ugly Sisters tell her that she needs to clean up. “No!” she declares. “Cleaning all done. Now I have cookie.” Just then, the Fairy Godmother appears, and the sisters tell Very Little Cinderella that they are off to a party. “I go too?” The Ugly Sisters escape just as Very Little Cinderella lets loose. Well, the Fairy Godmother tries to do her thing, but Very Little Cinderella has her own idea of what to wear and how to get to the party—just like a real preschooler. The day after, the crisis du jour is the missing yellow boot. Luckily, a Very Little Prince and his mommy save the day, making things even better with a playdate and a boot trade. In her watercolor-and-ink illustrations, Heap gets Very Little Cinderella’s facial expressions and body language down to a T, from the hug she gives to her found yellow boot to her tantrum. Her resolute baby talk, on the other hand, is likely to polarize adult readers.

Those going through their own independent phases—and their caregivers—may enjoy this take on a favorite fairy tale. (Fairy tale. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-28223-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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


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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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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