@penguinrandomhouse

Good Things Come in Threes

Hensel and Gretel: Ninja Chicks, by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Rebecca Gomez, illustrated by Dan Dantat; Putnam, $17.99, 32 pages, ages 4-7. (May 24, 2016)

In the third in a ninja-themed fractured fairy tale trilogy, Corey Rosen Schwartz, Rebecca Gomez, and Caldecott Medal winner Dan Santat combine witty limericks with bold illustrations to delightful comic effect. Here, in a twist on the Grimm Brothers’ classic Hansel and Gretel, ninja chicks Hensel and Gretel must rescue their parents from the clutches of a cunning fox. Recalling campy 1980s marital arts films, the fleet-footed rhyme is expertly matched by Santat’s bold artwork–close-ups of tense poultry and malicious foxes begs to be read with the soundtrack from “Hard to Kill” in the background. A plucky twist on an old favorite.

Prepare to be Astounded!

“Kel Gilligan’s Daredevil Stunt Show,” by Michael Buckley, illustrated by Dan Santat; Abrams Books for Young Readers, $16.95, 40 pages, ages 4-6.

This totally awesome tale of daredevil Kel Gilligan will amaze and astound preschool readers. Follow Kel’s daring exploits as he attempts such feats as eating broccoli, facing “The Potty of Doom,” and not interrupting his mother’s telephone conversation. Each death-defying exploit is witnessed by an awestruck group of what appears to be Kel’s adult family members.  Illustrator Dan Santat (“Tom’s Tweet;” see our review here) employs Adobe Photoshop with “100% fearlessness” to create a bold and eye-popping place.  Kel’s red tricycle and white striped jumpsuit, complete with matching helmet, cape and gloves recall the glory days of real-life showman and motorcycle stuntman Evel Knevel.  Readers will enjoy pointing out that these ‘extraordinary’ stunts are in fact quite similar to activities they do every day.