The book’s subtle message makes it a great vehicle to help children explore their own creativity

PIKIQ

Pikiq lives in the far north, a land with very few colors until he discovers a surprise in the snow.

While out with his sidekicks, Kri the crow and Bou the snowy owl, Pikiq spies a buried box. To his surprise, it contains art supplies and a book with pictures of strange trees and unusual animals that spark his imagination. Taking the paper and colors, he draws for hours. When he uses up all the paper, he paints on the snow. That night Pikiq decides to go on a trip to find the book’s amazing animals and trees, falling asleep with colors swirling in his mind and dreams: Pikiq and his friends pass a sleeping giant and bounce on the drum of the giant’s wife; they become lost in a maze of caribou antlers and gaze at a forest of green elephants. One stunning double-page spread finds the friends playing “hide-and-seek with some trees,” the barren trunks and branches aboveground, with brightly leaved mirror images below. Yayo’s simple story, stunning use of color, and magical-realism sensibility take young readers on a fanciful adventure that ends with a sweet little twist. While the adventure includes tired tropes—Pikiq appears to live in an igloo—its playfulness and affection for its main character help to mitigate them.

The book’s subtle message makes it a great vehicle to help children explore their own creativity . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-926890-05-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tradewind Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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Superheroes, and readers, will live happily-ever-after.

THE THREE LITTLE SUPERPIGS AND THE GINGERBREAD MAN

Why have fairy tales lasted so long? Maybe it’s because they change with every teller.

It takes surprisingly little effort to turn the Three Little Pigs into superheroes. The Big Bad Wolf basically started out as a supervillain, with the ability to blow a house down, and the pigs had to perform spectacular feats to outwit him. In this picture book, the wolf, locked in the Happily Never After tower, devises a plot to escape. Using rotten eggs and spicy ginger, he creates the Gingerbread Man, who makes his way to a baking contest where the three pigs and other fairy-tale characters are competing to win the key to the city. The Gingerbread Man grabs the key, and not even superhero pigs are fast enough to catch him, but with their secret weapon—mustard (which one of the pigs also uses to bake cookies)—they save the day. The morals: Evil never triumphs, and mustard cookies are delicious. The book’s charm is in the details. There are splotches of mustard on the cookies featured on the endpapers, and a sly-looking mouse is hiding on many of the pages. The story even manages to include more than a dozen fairy-tale figures without seeming frenzied. Evans’ use of shading is so skillful that it almost seems possible to reach out and touch the characters. Most of the human characters are light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Superheroes, and readers, will live happily-ever-after. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-68221-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here.

ONE LOVE

A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus.

Using only the refrain from the original (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!”), the reggae great’s daughter Cedella Marley sees this song as her “happy song” and adapts it for children. However, the adaptation robs it of life. After the opening lines, readers familiar with the original song (or the tourism advertisement for Jamaica) will be humming along only to be stopped by the bland lines that follow: “One love, what the flower gives the bee.” and then “One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree.” Brantley-Newton’s sunny illustrations perfectly reflect the saccharine quality of the text. Starting at the beginning of the day, readers see a little girl first in bed, under a photograph of Bob Marley, the sun streaming into her room, a bird at the window. Each spread is completely redundant—when the text is about family love, the illustration actually shows little hearts floating from her parents to the little girl. An image of a diverse group getting ready to plant a community garden, walking on top of a river accompanies the words “One love, like the river runs to the sea.”

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0224-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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