Lightly wraps the love of family as the center of life in a silken gown of word and image, with a playful undercurrent of...

THE MOST WONDERFUL THING IN THE WORLD

The king and queen of a city that reflects a fairy-tale Edwardian version of Venice suddenly realize that their beloved daughter, Lucia, will be queen one day, and she will need a husband.

So the king writes (in longhand, on a writing desk) to the wisest man in the kingdom, Old Angelo, who writes back (on a typewriter) that they should choose a suitor who can bring Lucia the item of the title. But Lucia, who does not get out much, finds Salvatore, Angelo’s grandson, and asks him to show her the city. While the king and queen exhaust themselves examining what the suitors bring—mermaids and airplanes; works of art and weapons of mass destruction (“How can anyone believe weapons are the most wonderful thing in the world?” asks the queen)—Lucia and Salvatore visit shops and markets, theaters and book stalls, stroll in piazzas and loggias. King and queen despair, and so does Salvatore, who has fallen in love. Old Angelo brings all the protagonists together, and Salvatore pronounces what the most wonderful thing is: Lucia, of course. Barrett’s watercolor illustrations are full of exquisite color and detail, referencing not only Venetian architectural monuments, but Martha Graham dance and the Tin Man among other cultural milestones.

Lightly wraps the love of family as the center of life in a silken gown of word and image, with a playful undercurrent of both whimsy and irony. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7501-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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Good, solid fantasy fun.

DRAGONS IN A BAG

From the Dragons in a Bag series , Vol. 1

Nine-year-old Brooklynite Jaxon meets a witch, becomes her apprentice, and protects baby dragons all in one eventful day.

As the story opens, Jaxon and his mom are being evicted. While Mama tries to secure a place to stay, she leaves him with Ma, the woman who raised her. Ma clearly doesn’t want Jaxon around, but it becomes apparent that’s at least partially due to a mysterious package she’s received. Jax soon discovers that Ma’s a witch, his mom used to be Ma’s apprentice (a mantle he takes up), and that Ma’s package contains…baby dragons! The dragons need to be taken to the magical realm, but a transport malfunction strands Ma while Jax is sent back to Brooklyn. Desperate to save Ma, Jax enlists the help of his friend Vikram, whose little sister, Kavita, tags along. Curious—or is it nosy?—Kavita discovers the dragons and does the worst: feeds them. This not only increases their size, but bonds them to her. Thankfully, Trub, Jax’s maternal grandfather, is a magic user and helps Jax find Ma and get the dragons to the magical realm, where (discerning readers won’t be surprised) they discover one dragon is missing….What a breath of fresh air: a chapter-book fantasy with an urban setting, an array of brown-skinned magic wielders, and a lovable black protagonist readers will root for and sympathize with. Geneva B’s black-and-white illustrations depict a cast of color and appear every few pages.

Good, solid fantasy fun. (Fantasy. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7045-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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