Likely to be an instant hobbyhorse for young lovers of equestrian magic.

READ REVIEW

HEARTSONG'S MISSING FOAL

Sisters venture into the secret Enchanted Realm to help a unicorn foal.

The Enchanted Realm is kept secret to protect unicorns from humans; only the Unicorn Guardians (always two little girls) have keys to the Magic Gate. The current guardians are sisters Iris and Ruby, who have newly inherited the keys from their mother and aunt. The sisters are excited for the first birth of a unicorn foal since they took over. But when the foal’s mother, Heartsong, doesn’t return from the Fairy Forest (where unicorns birth), the two must venture in to find out what’s wrong. Heartsong is trapped by maze weed, a magic plant that quickly becomes a leafy labyrinth around them. Luckily (if inexplicably), Heartsong’s foal is on the outside of the maze and helps them find their way (extremely easily) by creating magical stars, and thus is dubbed Starsong. Though Heartsong doesn’t want to leave the forest, she obeys the girls. The next day, Heartsong’s agitation to get back to the forest prompts the realization that she likely had twins, so the girls return to rescue the missing twin from mild but inventive peril. The magic is as kid friendly as the large type and short sentences. Picturesque settings and attractive equines populate the black-and-white illustrations, which depict the girls as white. The book’s strongest element is characterization: Younger Ruby’s bolder while responsible Iris must actively decide to face her fears and plan how to succeed. The next three series titles (Unicorn Uncovered, Stolen Magic, and The Red Key) publish simultaneously.

Likely to be an instant hobbyhorse for young lovers of equestrian magic. (Fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63163-391-1

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Jolly Fish Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A close encounter of the best kind.

FIELD TRIP TO THE MOON

Left behind when the space bus departs, a child discovers that the moon isn’t as lifeless as it looks.

While the rest of the space-suited class follows the teacher like ducklings, one laggard carrying crayons and a sketchbook sits down to draw our home planet floating overhead, falls asleep, and wakes to see the bus zooming off. The bright yellow bus, the gaggle of playful field-trippers, and even the dull gray boulders strewn over the equally dull gray lunar surface have a rounded solidity suggestive of Plasticine models in Hare’s wordless but cinematic scenes…as do the rubbery, one-eyed, dull gray creatures (think: those stress-busting dolls with ears that pop out when squeezed) that emerge from the regolith. The mutual shock lasts but a moment before the lunarians eagerly grab the proffered crayons to brighten the bland gray setting with silly designs. The creatures dive into the dust when the bus swoops back down but pop up to exchange goodbye waves with the errant child, who turns out to be an olive-skinned kid with a mop of brown hair last seen drawing one of their new friends with the one crayon—gray, of course—left in the box. Body language is expressive enough in this debut outing to make a verbal narrative superfluous.

A close encounter of the best kind. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4253-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A heartwarming story with a bit of mystery, available in both English and Chinese.

WHO WANTS CANDIED HAWBERRIES?

In winter, an old man enters Cat’s Eye Hutong (alleyway or lane) with his bicycle, fitted with a rack filled with candied hawberry skewers, a Chinese treat.

He hopes to sell all so that he can buy medicine but first puts down a box of fish scraps in the snow. He calls for customers, but none appear. The charming, naïve watercolor-and–colored-pencil paintings begin to fill with feline images built into the architecture. Then a small child wearing a white medical mask (sometimes worn to prevent the spread of germs) buys a stick of hawberries, but as she walks off, the man notices a white tail peeking from her coat. Other young, masked buyers appear; all have tails, and one’s mask has slipped, exposing whiskers. Finally, a human girl buys the last stick, and when the old man asks her about the kids with tails, she informs him that only “Kitties have tails” but points up to cats on the rooftops all eating the red hawberry sticks. Careful readers will remember the fish left “as usual.” This book publishes simultaneously with an edition in Simplified Chinese, which features simplified characters and transliterated text in a small font directly above the characters. Backmatter includes a glossary keyed to intermediate-level readers, three-to-a-page thumbnails of the illustrations with English text, and note with cultural background (sadly missing in the English-only edition); further Chinese learning materials are available on the publisher’s website.

A heartwarming story with a bit of mystery, available in both English and Chinese. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2016

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Candied Plums

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more