The whole is attractive visually but seems far more like the kind of gift book adults like to give to one another than a...

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CINDERELLA

A CUT-PAPER BOOK

A “Cinderella” retelling illustrated in a combination of cutaway silhouettes and painted pages.

The story, told simply in bare outline with no inflection nor energy, is not the point in this version of the Cinderella tale. It is based on both Perrault’s and the Grimms’ tellings, according to an introductory note. The point of this small volume, published in Great Britain in 2013, is the wondrous fine if slightly mechanical illustrations. The endpapers are framed in a marvelous curlicued frieze of pumpkins and vines that surrounds a spike-heeled glass slipper. Within the book, every other page is a cut-paper image in a solid matte color, made to work whether it overlays the left- or right-hand page. The non–cut-paper pages are done in pale hues and feature pleasingly repetitive patterns of trees, floral motifs, and so on. For instance, as Cinderella and the Prince dance, first the cut-paper page places them against the ballroom backdrop on recto, and then, when readers turn it, they appear between a beaming king and queen and crabby stepsisters on the verso. The stepsisters are described as ugly and are certainly mean, but in the end, Cinderella forgives them, has them as bridesmaids, and everyone lives happily ever after.

The whole is attractive visually but seems far more like the kind of gift book adults like to give to one another than a version that children might enjoy. (Picture book/fairy tale. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-85707-843-5

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Tango Books

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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