This ninja leaves no lasting mark, yet it has enough quick rhymes and tricks that it will have young fans requesting repeat...

READ REVIEW

JACK B. NINJA

A child ninja in Japan embarks on his first covert mission in this fractured nursery rhyme.

“Jack B. Ninja! Jack, be quick! / Jack, jump over the bamboo stick!” Now that training is complete, his first mission commences. Told in rhyming couplets similar to, but at times not as fluent as, the original rhyme’s, the novice’s skills are put to the test. “Hide in shadow, out of sight.” He sneaks past a line of faceless samurai. In a Japanese garden, he finds an underwater tunnel and eventually infiltrates “a bandit cave.” There he finds his objective: a small red chest. Each obstacle Jack faces is introduced and resolved on the same page, including the climax of conflict: He is trapped in a pit full of bandits. Due to the lack of suspense and any obvious struggle, the plot has an overall lighthearted quality. However, its rapid, happy rhymes, paired with a decent twist when the chest’s contents are finally revealed, will appeal to little readers, especially during a read-aloud. The clean type, rhyme, and repetition also make this a good choice for a beginning reader. Savage’s illustrations are minimalist in detail and bold, with simple shapes and lines. He makes effective use of bright, contrasting colors, which pop to the eye. Still, this is but one ninja book on a crowded shelf.

This ninja leaves no lasting mark, yet it has enough quick rhymes and tricks that it will have young fans requesting repeat visits. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-545-91728-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug.

THE HUG

What to do when you’re a prickly animal hankering for a hug? Why, find another misfit animal also searching for an embrace!

Sweet but “tricky to hug” little Hedgehog is down in the dumps. Wandering the forest, Hedgehog begs different animals for hugs, but each rejects them. Readers will giggle at their panicked excuses—an evasive squirrel must suddenly count its three measly acorns; a magpie begins a drawn-out song—but will also be indignant on poor hedgehog’s behalf. Hedgehog has the appealingly pink-cheeked softness typical of Dunbar’s art, and the gentle watercolors are nonthreatening, though she also captures the animals’ genuine concern about being poked. A wise owl counsels the dejected hedgehog that while the prickles may frighten some, “there’s someone for everyone.” That’s when Hedgehog spots a similarly lonely tortoise, rejected due to its “very hard” shell but perfectly matched for a spiky new friend. They race toward each other until the glorious meeting, marked with swoony peach swirls and overjoyed grins. At this point, readers flip the book to hear the same gloomy tale from the tortoise’s perspective until it again culminates in that joyous hug, a book turn that’s made a pleasure with thick creamy paper and solid binding.

Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-571-34875-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

It’s slight on story, but there is an abundance of shimmery glitter. And, of course, pink.

TWINKLE THINKS PINK!

Reminiscent of another rosy-hue–loving protagonist, Twinkle can’t get enough of the color pink.

Twinkle and her friends are invited to a garden party hosted by Fairy Godmother at the royal palace. It promises beautiful roses, which are the talk of the town. Twinkle, along with fairy friends Pippa and Lulu, can’t resist sneaking a peek before the party begins. The roses are all the colors of the rainbow. It looks divine, but Pippa can’t help but muse, “What a shame there aren’t more pink ones.” That’s all the encouragement Twinkle needs. She waves her wand, and (after a few missteps) suddenly everything in the garden is pink, right down to a winged rabbit onlooker and a shocked owl. Poor Twinkle still doesn’t have a handle on spell-casting. Have they ruined the garden party for everyone? The fuel for Holabird’s impetuous heroine’s fluttering is excitement rather than common sense. But she does confess to Fairy Godmother and admit her mistake. Warburton’s intricately inked illustrations provide enough fairy magic (tiny fruit houses with even tinier doors, a poodle with gossamer wings) to have readers poring over the details. The fairies present mostly white (other friends are shown on the endpapers), with only black-presenting Pippa providing diversity.

It’s slight on story, but there is an abundance of shimmery glitter. And, of course, pink. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2917-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more