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Princess Cupcake Jones and the Missing Tutu

A fresh, sweet and motivational children’s tale.

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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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WRECKING BALL

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

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

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. 18, 2019

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FAMILIES BELONG

A joyful celebration.

Families in a variety of configurations play, dance, and celebrate together.

The rhymed verse, based on a song from the Noodle Loaf children’s podcast, declares that “Families belong / Together like a puzzle / Different-sized people / One big snuggle.” The accompanying image shows an interracial couple of caregivers (one with brown skin and one pale) cuddling with a pajama-clad toddler with light brown skin and surrounded by two cats and a dog. Subsequent pages show a wide array of families with members of many different racial presentations engaging in bike and bus rides, indoor dance parties, and more. In some, readers see only one caregiver: a father or a grandparent, perhaps. One same-sex couple with two children in tow are expecting another child. Smart’s illustrations are playful and expressive, curating the most joyful moments of family life. The verse, punctuated by the word together, frequently set in oversized font, is gently inclusive at its best but may trip up readers with its irregular rhythms. The song that inspired the book can be found on the Noodle Loaf website.

A joyful celebration. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22276-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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