For the Ivy and Bean and Clementine crowd, here comes another smart, spunky girl with a great deal of resourcefulness. This new series of beginning chapter books launches with four titles. Texas gal Kylie Jean Carter is more queen than princess--she likes to take charge. Despite her aspirations to be a beauty queen one day, she also takes to heart her mother's advice, "Pretty is as pretty does." In Drama Queen, it's the start of a new school year, and Kylie Jean wants to play the Queen of Hearts in her second grade class's production of Alice in Wonderland. She works on her lines with her family's bull dog, Ugly Brother (whose real name is Bruno), until she memorizes every last one for the tryouts. Unfortunately, the new girl at school, Paula, sets her sights on the same role. Interestingly, the new girl is also a mean girl, and the way Kylie Jean and her friends handle the situation could offer some solutions to other elementary students in a similar boat. Marci Peschke tackles bullying, starting a new school year with a new teacher, and the perseverance it takes to perform well, all in a neatly presented package. Tuesday Mourning's gently cartoonish and predominantly pink artwork reflect the heroine's love of all things queen but also her gutsy nature and stick-to-it-iveness...
--Jennifer M. Brown, Shelf Awareness
Self-assured, chatty Kylie Jean declares, "I'm going to be a beauty queen. Just you wait and see!" Yet the eight-year-old Texan sets her sights on another title after dreaming that she's been named rodeo queen. Ruling out rope tricks and bull riding, she opts to enter the barrel-racing competition in the upcoming Wild West Rodeo, and she is tickled when her grandfather gives her a pony, one grandmother agrees to train her, and her other grandmother buys her a shirt and boots--pink to match her favorite cowboy hat. Kylie Jean's success at the rodeo is predictable, but her good nature, as well as that of her family ("If you promise to never get on a bull again, I promise to figure out a better plan for you," Kylie Jean's uncle says after her disastrous stint on a mechanical bull) offset the slightness of the story. Picturing the heroine with an oversize head and spindly limbs, Mourning's b&w cartoons, accented with pink washes, feel cheerful and fresh. Available simultaneously: Kylie Jean, Blueberry Queen; Kylie Jean, Drama Queen; and Kylie Jean, Hoop Queen. Ages 6-9. (Feb.)
Kylie Jean: Dancing Queen is part of a larger series, all focusing on Kylie Jean's character. By my count there are now 8 books in the series, and they all look adorable! Based on this particular book, I can definitely say that this is a series that young girls will just eat up. Kylie Jean is spunky, she's sweet, and about as honest as a kid can get. Add in her insatiable need for learning new things, and you've got a little girl that other little girls will love. In this story Kylie Jean wants the main role in the ballet version of Swan Lake. The story follows her as she practices her heart out and then nervously tries out. Even when she doesn't get the part she was pining for, she shows young readers how to be proud of what you've accomplished anyway. She's a great role model. There are a lot of good lessons in the story, including how to be kind to others. I definitely think this would a great addition to any little ballerina's book shelf.As I mentioned above, this book hits the mark right before Middle Grade. It's a chapter book, but the chapters are short, the words are moderately easy, and the illustrations help keep readers immersed. This would be prefect for 7-8 year olds who are ready for a chapter book!
--Jessica, Hopelessly Bibliophile