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KINGS OF THE CASTLE

A marvelous journey worth taking.

Two creatures build a fantastical world together, forging a lifelong friendship.

At dusk, George heads to the shore hoping to create the ultimate sand castle. But the catlike beast only finds discouragement until a silhouette emerges offshore. Part Loch Ness monster, part fish, Nepo arrives. Unfamiliar to each other, the bipeds fail at communication until art becomes their universal language. Under a star-filled sky, the nocturnal creatures embark on their shared enterprise, creating a sublime sand kingdom. With dawn comes the tide, and their empire washes away—a fleeting moment in nature’s history. Turnbull beautifully juxtaposes the ephemerality of their kingdom with the lasting power of their friendship. The artist’s refined linework and skilled draftsmanship reveal a technical skill worthy of the picture-book masters she emulates. With her colored pencils, Turnbull captures Moebius’ color palette; Winsor McKay’s innovative use of comic panels; and Maurice Sendak’s emotive and appealing character designs.

A marvelous journey worth taking. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9295-7

Page Count: 30

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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JULIA'S HOUSE MOVES ON

From the Julia's House series

This magical wisp of a story has an imaginative message for both planners and improvisers.

Julia decides to pack up and move her House for Lost Creatures, creating a host of problems with unexpected results.

Julia has taken in a cacophony of lost creatures: dwarves, trolls, and goblins, a singular rarity of a mermaid, and a patchwork cat, among others. But now, the house feels ready for a move. As the ghost starts to fade and the mermaid languishes, Julia puts her plan into action—packing books and stacking boxes. The move quickly turns into a series of catastrophes. Trying to retain the facade of control, Julia is dismayed to see her plans making things worse. Knowledge of the previous title, Julia’s House for Lost Creatures (2014), is a helpful introduction, as Hatke turns the solution of the first book into the problem for this one. With skillful pacing, the story has messages for both planners and creatives. The problems seem beyond resolution, keeping readers in gleeful suspended tension. While the first book introduced readers to the gnomish folletti, a hedgehoglike ghillie comes to a dramatic rescue here. There are two disparate messages in one story: Kindness will be returned, and it is OK to not have a plan. Connecting them together are lush illustrations that stretch the mind and add details to mythic beasts. Julia presents white. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 25% of actual size.)

This magical wisp of a story has an imaginative message for both planners and improvisers. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-19137-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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IT'S HALLOWEEN, LITTLE MONSTER

From the Little Monsters series

Treat little ones to this sweet, entertaining holiday story.

It can be a spooky thrill to go trick-or-treating for the first time.

Little Monster is excited to experience this Halloween rite of passage; the green Martian costume fits perfectly. Yet, as Little Monster and Papa venture out, the young one is leery. Scary things are all around: a pirate, witch, and ghost. On Little Monster’s street, it’s less the costumes than the wearers that look strange, given that residents are monsters themselves, albeit cute, smiling ones with big eyes. As they walk about, Little Monster begins to feel braver with Papa’s help. The pair’s final stop—a scary house with a graveyard for a front lawn—ushers in a surprise ending. This cute addition to the holiday shelf is by the creators of Go to School, Little Monster (2015) and the third in the Little Monster series. Told in rollicking rhymes, the story delivers humorous, not-too-scary chills for the youngest readers. The portrayal of a warm, patient relationship between child and father is welcome, as is the sight of a parent accompanying a child on nighttime trick-or-treating rounds, not universally presented in Halloween books. The delightful, expressive, atmospheric illustrations depict adorable, multicolored monsters—it’s definitely a diverse neighborhood. Winsome, lavender Little Monster, befanged, wide-eyed, noseless, and bearing a spearlike tail, subs for kids who anticipate and feel wary on their own first Halloween forays. Papa is blue and also has large eyes, fangs, a tail, and no nose.

Treat little ones to this sweet, entertaining holiday story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9208-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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