Books by Suzy Kline

Released: Nov. 27, 2018

"A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)"
A long-running series reaches its closing chapters. Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2006

Herbie Jones is back—but now he's in second grade. Kline has turned back the hands of time, and readers can find out all about his early elementary-school years in this offering and its sequel, Herbie Jones and the Second Grade Slippers (ISBN: 0-399-23132-3) for the newest chapter-book readers. Herbie is anxious about his new teacher, but is pleasantly surprised by Mr. Schnellenberger, a tall, big-eared MAN TEACHER. Mr. S quickly captivates his charges with his boat theme, personalized sailor hats and microphones for reading aloud. Not only does Herbie have a new teacher, he has a new friend, Raymond Martin. Things are not always smooth sailing for Herbie, but a quick phone call to his beloved grandfather easily adjusts the rudder. Sunny pen-and-ink illustrations brighten each page and make Herbie Jones's story easily read by the youngest reader. (Fiction. 5-8)Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2003

Harry and his friends in 3B are back in the 14th installment of Kline's lively Horrible Harry series. In this one, Harry is having friendship problems with Sidney La Fleur, a classmate who bugs Harry every day. The newest episode happens when Harry wears a necklace to school and Sid tries to get the other kids to tease him about wearing jewelry like a girl. Turns out, the necklace is a magnifying glass and Harry promises to show his friends something he has discovered with it: a kingdom of mushrooms. The catch is that the friends have to swear to secrecy because the kingdom, filled with stinkhorn mushrooms, is located off school property and is off-limits to them during recess. After some soul-searching, the kids decide to break the rule. When their teacher asks where the mud has come from following recess, Harry sneaks in a little fib: mud gremlins must have traipsed in the offending dirt. Sneaking off a few yards from the playground is one thing; lying to Miss Mackle is another. The children face the dilemma of telling the truth and getting in trouble, and they do the right thing in the end. Kline's gift is her ability to take the run-of-the-mill incidents in a young child's life and make them taut and believable, just as nerve-wracking as they are to real children. Another winner for the just-ready-for-chapter-books crowd. (Fiction. 7-10)Read full book review >
Released: May 20, 2002

Discord has come to the familiar friends in Room 3B. Miss Mackle has assigned a research project about animals from children's books. Song Lee and Harry both want to study dragons. They are allowed to work together, which usually is a good plan for these cooperative classmates. However, when Harry's dragon is the fire-breathing one of Arthurian legend, and Song Lee's is the good-luck dragon of Korean mythology, the war begins. Harry uses the "s" word (stupid) to describe Song Lee's creation. Fighting words for sure. What follows is a three-hour standoff that ends up involving all the boys and girls in 3B. The situation, reported through the voice of classmate Doug, is real and believable. Song Lee's reaction to Henry's word will spark a moment of uncomfortable recognition for any grade-school child: she completely rebuffs any apologetic overture and holds her stubborn position for three full hours, an eternity in the close quarters of a classroom. Remkiewicz's signature illustrations add life to the argument and its realistic solution. While such situations might seem trivial to the adult observer, Kline, a former schoolteacher, hits the nail on the head once again by telling a real classroom story. She allows the young protagonists to solve their problems the way they often do, with light adult intervention, good intentions, and gentle forgiveness. Kline and her publisher understand the needs of emergent readers and provide them with a large font, frequent illustrations, and a familiar story. This is another fine story for the reader who is just ready for chapter books. (Easy reader. 7-10)Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2001

A unit on the study of ancestors sends Classroom 3B to sea when Ida, one of Harry's classmates, reveals that her great-great-grandmother was one of the survivors of the sinking of the Titanic. Everyone wishes that they could sail aboard a big ship too, so Miss Mackle decides to take them on a riverboat trip. The whole class gears up by reading about all kinds of ships and even pirates. As they walk down the gangplank, each wearing his or her own personalized sailing hat, their spirits are not even dampened when they must sit on the lower deck. A bout of seasickness, a missing classmate, and even a rain shower keep the onboard action moving. Lively text and humorous drawings will entice even reluctant readers to call "All Aboard!" for this next volume in the Horrible Harry series. (Fiction. 7-9)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2000

Every year since kindergarten, Harry's Halloween costume has gotten scarier and scarier. What's it going to be this year? He's not telling. His classmates are all stunned when he shows up, not as some monster or a weird alien (well, not really)—but as neatly dressed Sgt. Joe Friday of Dragnet fame, wielding a notebook and out to get "just the facts, ma'am." As she has in Harry's 11 previous appearances (15, counting the ones his classmate Song Lee headlines), Kline (Marvin and the Mean Words, 1997, etc.) captures grammar-school atmosphere, personalities, and incidents perfectly, from snits to science projects gone hilariously wrong. She even hands Harry/Friday a chance to exercise his sleuthing abilities, with a supply of baby powder "fairy dust" gone mysteriously missing. As legions of fans have learned to expect, Harry comes through with flying colors, pinning down the remorseful culprit in 11 minutes flat. No surprises here, just reliable, child-friendly, middle-grade fare. Illustrations not seen. (Fiction. 7-9)Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 1997

Kline (Marvin and the Mean Words, p. 641, etc.) lets loose with the further adventures of Harry, who, in the last week of second grade, has become even more of a cut-up than usual. Miss Mackle is apparently spending the day (Kline is somewhat vague on the timing) reading Alice in Wonderland to the class. Harry insists there are invisible Purple People in the room; after he appears to tame a bee and find a lost lunch card with the ``help'' of the Purple People, his skeptical classmates start to wonder about his claims. Harry's announcement that a Purple Person will join them at their class tea party produces the book's only moments of suspense; the climax, in which Harry produces one of the Purple People by throwing grape juice on a classmate, is disappointing; then again, Kline isn't attempting to make grand statements or to pound in any major morals. A silly story that unfolds harmlessly. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 7-10) Read full book review >
Released: April 14, 1997

Marvin Higgins, something of a bully in Kline's Mary Marony and the Snake (1992) and other stories about Mary Marony, gets a book (and proposed series) of his own. Marvin decides he hates his teacher, Mrs. Bird, when he thinks he overhears her making unpleasant remarks about him. He also decides to show her just how wrong she is; a class trip to a museum gives him a chance to shine. A bully as the protagonist is an idea with real kid-appeal, but Marvin has been considerably toned down; his worst act is imitating Mary's stutter. As for the story of misunderstanding a teacher's remarks—it was done very well in Beverly Cleary's Ramona the Pest, and this version is bland and predictable in comparison. The black-and-white illustrations add humor, but they're not enough to save the story. (Fiction. 6-9) Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 1994

A cheerful, school-based comic story for transitional readers who are just starting to read longer books. When Song Lee brings her pet hamster, Yi, to school, the whole class immediately falls in love with him. But then one day, Yi is missing from his cage, and the children from Room 2B join together in a massive hamster hunt: They put up signs, set out Havahart traps, tempt the missing hamster with homemade peanut butter cookies. Amusing characterizations, snappy dialogue, and a happy ending give this breezy little story the appeal of a good television sitcom. (Fiction. 7-10) Read full book review >
Released: March 25, 1992

Mary's heart pounds when the second-grade teacher in her new school says, ``I want each one of you to stand up, say your name, and tell us one thing about yourself.'' As Mary fears, someone giggles at her stuttered statement. It's Marvin, whose subsequent mocking continues to aggravate her problem. Still, some of the girls readily invite her to join them, and when Marvin steals their rubber-band jump rope they jail him in a garbage can, where he sticks. A discussion with her mother reveals that stuttering is an old family characteristic; with her encouragement, Mary agrees to work with a speech therapist, whom she likes immediately. When a garter snake that Marvin's father has brought in to school escapes, Marvin stands by terrified while Mary catches it and becomes the class hero. Ex-elementary-teacher Kline gives an entertaining glimpse of the challenges and successes of school life while offering a positive, sympathetic look at a common problem. A chapter book that transitional readers will enjoy. Illustrations not seen. (Fiction. 7-9) Read full book review >
ORP by Suzy Kline
Released: April 27, 1989

From the author of Herbie Jones, another funny look at kids and their not-so-everyday problems. Orp (Orville Rudemeyer Pygenski, Jr.) starts summer vacation after sixth grade by listing his 40 chief dislikes, topping them off with the worst of all: his own name. Finding that he's not alone (for starters, little sister Chloe has two awful middle names, and best friend Derrick [sic] turns out to have the secret middle name of Vivian), he joins the others in starting the "I Hate My Name Club," which collects some unexpected members—even ordinary names, it seems, can be a burden if too many other people share them. Overriding Mom's understandably hurt feelings, the children even place a newspaper ad (in the Hartford Courant) for an open meeting; but since Derrick, in a fit of misplaced economy, has deleted the words "Kids only eight to twelve," they collect a surprising—as well as oddly named—group for the meeting. Although there are some careless details (Orp says his allowance has been cut for the summer—he's supposed to work—but he is never seen either earning money or short of funds), Kline uses her basic idea to good comic effect; readers will recognize her lively characters as people they know, or would like to know. Good, easily read entertainment. Read full book review >