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From the Super Pancake series , Vol. 2

Sweet but substantial, just like a balanced breakfast should be.

An anthropomorphic, superpowered young pancake faces her greatest challenge yet: babysitting.

Secretly saving the world as Super Pancake has left Peggy Pancake little time for doing homework. She’ll be spending spring break completing a missed assignment. Even worse, her parents have signed her up for a weeklong babysitting job. Her charges, the Mini Muffin quintuplets, leave her exhausted, and after Peggy and the kids stop by her friend Professor Egg’s lab, things get even worse. The littlest quintuplet, Minnie, pilfers the professor’s doom laser and accidentally turns herself into a mega-sized muffin. Now Super Pancake and her trusty sidekick, Kid Croissant, must save the day once again. It’s a fairly straightforward tale, complete with a third-act pep talk from Peggy’s pal Stanley Bacon that motivates her and Kid Croissant, but the breakfast food–themed characters and setting infuse the story with whimsy and humor. The Pancake family house is shaped like a giant skillet, while their car is a bottle of maple syrup; before sending her off on her babysitting gig, Peggy’s mom tells her to “break an egg!” Despite the larger-than-life superheroics and quirky setting, Peggy also contends with more down-to-earth problems, such as wrangling her rambunctious charges and dealing with burnout. Alwar’s energetic cartoon illustrations are both action packed and adorable. A quick recap of the first book will make it easy for newcomers to the series to jump right in.

Sweet but substantial, just like a balanced breakfast should be. (Graphic fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: June 4, 2024

ISBN: 9780593378489

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists.

How to raise money for a coveted poster: put your friends to work!

John, founder of the FUBU fashion line and a Shark Tank venture capitalist, offers a self-referential blueprint for financial success. Having only half of the $10 he needs for a Minka J poster, Daymond forks over $1 to buy a plain T-shirt, paints a picture of the pop star on it, sells it for $5, and uses all of his cash to buy nine more shirts. Then he recruits three friends to decorate them with his design and help sell them for an unspecified amount (from a conveniently free and empty street-fair booth) until they’re gone. The enterprising entrepreneur reimburses himself for the shirts and splits the remaining proceeds, which leaves him with enough for that poster as well as a “brand-new business book,” while his friends express other fiscal strategies: saving their share, spending it all on new art supplies, or donating part and buying a (math) book with the rest. (In a closing summation, the author also suggests investing in stocks, bonds, or cryptocurrency.) Though Miles cranks up the visual energy in her sparsely detailed illustrations by incorporating bright colors and lots of greenbacks, the actual advice feels a bit vague. Daymond is Black; most of the cast are people of color. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-56727-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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From the Stella Díaz series , Vol. 1

A nice and timely depiction of an immigrant child experience.

Speaking up is hard when you’re shy, and it can be even harder if you’ve got two languages in your head.

Third-grader Estrella “Stella” Díaz, is a shy, Mexican-American girl who draws pictures and loves fish, and she lives in Chicago with her mother and older brother, Nick. Jenny, Stella’s best friend, isn’t in her class this year, and Stella feels lonely—especially when she sees that Vietnamese-American Jenny is making new friends. When a new student, Stanley Mason, arrives in her class, Stella introduces herself in Spanish to the white former Texan without realizing it and becomes embarrassed. Surely Stanley won’t want to befriend her after that—but he seems to anyway. Stella often confuses the pronunciation between English and Spanish sounds and takes speech classes. As an immigrant with a green card—a “legal alien,” according to her teacher—Stella feels that she doesn’t fully belong to either American culture or Mexican culture, and this is nicely reflected in her not being fully comfortable in either language, an experience familiar to many immigrant and first-generation children. This early-middle-grade book features italicized Spanish words and phrases with direct translations right after. There is a small subplot about bullying from Stella’s classmate, and readers will cheer as they see how, with the help of her friends and family, Stella overcomes her shyness and gives a presentation on Jacques Cousteau. Dominguez’s friendly black-and-white drawings grace most pages.

A nice and timely depiction of an immigrant child experience. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-858-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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