A fresh, sweet and motivational children’s tale.

Princess Cupcake Jones and the Missing Tutu

A princess learns a lesson about putting things away in Fields’ colorful debut rhyming storybook.

Princess Cupcake Jones wears her pink high-tops outside, sensible pom-pom slippers indoors, and her bright, multicolored tutu everywhere. She believes that horseback riding and picture painting are perfect activities to do in a tutu; she’d even sleep in it if Mommy, the queen, would let her. But during portrait day at the palace, Cupcake’s tutu goes missing. She first interrogates her dolls and stuffed animals with a serious, skeptical expression; after getting no clues, she wonders if the tutu has been stolen by fairies or by a witch flying on a broomstick. LaDuca’s softly shaded illustrations show Cupcake’s worried, inquisitive face as she looks up into her mother’s caring eyes; on the following page, readers see the witch and chubby cherubs that the princess imagines. When Cupcake’s mother suggests that she wear a dress for the portrait, she cries, “It just isn’t me! If I hurry I’ll find my tutu, you’ll see!” She then embarks on a frantic search for the missing garment. The book portrays the palace as a big, warm place—a cross between a fairy-tale dream and a contemporary home. Cupcake brings spunk and joie de vivre to her quest, as she finds possessions she thought she’d lost, including a red ball, a magic book and a pink teddy bear. Later, she encounters a kind-faced white-mustachioed cook; her father, the king; and a disappointingly tutu-less washing machine. Encouraged by Mommy’s advice to take better care with her belongings, Cupcake starts organizing, grabs a broom and does a blissful leap, duster in hand, over a twinkling floor. The princess eventually learns to appreciate her various possessions, and finds her tutu in a surprising place. Children are often motivated by deep attachments to objects, and Fields delivers a practical message, apparently aimed at a multiethnic, female audience. Despite a couple of moments of awkward diction, this book could become a favorite of both parents and youngsters.

A fresh, sweet and motivational children’s tale.  

Pub Date: July 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0578113036

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Belle Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this...

HOLES

Sentenced to a brutal juvenile detention camp for a crime he didn't commit, a wimpy teenager turns four generations of bad family luck around in this sunburnt tale of courage, obsession, and buried treasure from Sachar (Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, 1995, etc.).

Driven mad by the murder of her black beau, a schoolteacher turns on the once-friendly, verdant town of Green Lake, Texas, becomes feared bandit Kissin' Kate Barlow, and dies, laughing, without revealing where she buried her stash. A century of rainless years later, lake and town are memories—but, with the involuntary help of gangs of juvenile offenders, the last descendant of the last residents is still digging. Enter Stanley Yelnats IV, great-grandson of one of Kissin' Kate's victims and the latest to fall to the family curse of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; under the direction of The Warden, a woman with rattlesnake venom polish on her long nails, Stanley and each of his fellow inmates dig a hole a day in the rock-hard lake bed. Weeks of punishing labor later, Stanley digs up a clue, but is canny enough to conceal the information of which hole it came from. Through flashbacks, Sachar weaves a complex net of hidden relationships and well-timed revelations as he puts his slightly larger-than-life characters under a sun so punishing that readers will be reaching for water bottles.

Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this rugged, engrossing adventure. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 978-0-374-33265-5

Page Count: 233

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2000

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