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

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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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Series fans will enjoy revisiting familiar characters and exploring the island of Cuba with them.

THE MADRE DE AGUAS OF CUBA

From the Unicorn Rescue Society series , Vol. 5

The Unicorn Rescue Society investigates the disappearance of a Cuban sea serpent.

In the fifth series installment, returning protagonists Uchenna and Elliot are in school, learning about water, when Professor Fauna calls them away. As the kids board the professor’s rickety single-propeller plane, they learn where exactly they are heading: Cuba. The island is in the middle of a massive drought, and Professor Fauna has reason to believe that the Madres de aguas (the Mother of Waters) has gone missing. It’s up to the society to find the sea serpent before any more damage is done to the people and wildlife of Cuba. As they set out on their mission of derring-do, they realize that once again they are up against their nemeses, the Schmoke Brothers. Via Yoenis, their Cuban American society liaison, Uchenna, Elliot, and readers learn about the political and economic hardships experienced by the people of Cuba, the island’s lack of basic goods and necessities, and Cuba’s need for real democracy (although the current role of the military is elided). This is conveyed within a quick, fast-paced read that’s ideal for kids who want a straightforward magical adventure. Uchenna is Nigerian, Elliot is white and Jewish, and Professor Fauna is Peruvian.

Series fans will enjoy revisiting familiar characters and exploring the island of Cuba with them. (Fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3142-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale.

A TRUE HOME

From the Heartwood Hotel series , Vol. 1

An orphan mouse unexpectedly arrives at Heartwood Hotel, which she hopes will become the home she’s seeking.

Mona’s never had a home for long. After a storm forces her to flee her latest forest shelter, she discovers an enormous tree with a heart carved into its trunk. When Mona presses the heart, a door opens, and she enters the lobby of Heartwood Hotel, where small forest critters hibernate, eat, and celebrate in safety. The kindhearted badger proprietor, Mr. Heartwood, takes pity on homeless Mona, allowing her to stay for the fall to assist the maid, Tilly, a red squirrel. Grateful to be at Heartwood, Mona strives to prove herself despite Tilly’s unfriendly attitude. Mona’s clever approaches with a wounded songbird, an anxious skunk, and a wayward bear win Mr. Heartwood’s approval. But when Mona accidentally breaks a rule, Tilly convinces her she will be fired. As Mona secretly leaves Heartwood, she discovers marauding wolves planning to crash Heartwood’s Snow Festival and devises a daring plan to save the place she regards as home. Charming anthropomorphic characters, humorous mishaps, and outside threats add to the drama. Delicate pencil illustrations reinforce Heartwood’s cozy home theme. A sequel, The Greatest Gift, publishes simultaneously.

A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale. (Animal fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3161-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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