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From the Kids in Mrs. Z's Class series , Vol. 2

Quietly uplifting and encouraging.

LaRocca picks up the baton for this latest in the series, each of which is written by a different middle-grade author and follows a different student in Mrs. Z’s third grade class.

Mrs. Z announces that Curiosity Academy has a new garden. To help raise money for it, Rohan decides to start a pet-care business—an odd choice, as his younger sister, Kavya, points out, given that he dislikes animals. Ever since he was bitten by his music teacher’s cat, he worries that all pets bite. His parents insist that he prove he’s responsible enough. So when Mrs. Z tells the students that they may sign up to take Honey, the class guinea pig, home for a weekend, Rohan jumps at the chance. Though he’s afraid, he’s determined, and when Honey gets frightened during a thunderstorm and goes missing, Rohan learns another valuable lesson: “It’s easier to get over being scared with a friend.” The premise of this lightweight, sweet tale feels a bit unrealistic; most kids who are nervous around animals likely wouldn’t volunteer to take the class pet home, much less start a pet-related business. Still, the resolution is heartening. LaRocca captures sibling dynamics ably; Rohan and Kavya squabble but ultimately support one another. Mrs. Z is brown-skinned in the upbeat, expressive illustrations; Rohan and his family are cued South Asian. Final art not seen.

Quietly uplifting and encouraging. (Chapter book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9781523526581

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: April 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 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 Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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