Old friends and new will hope this highly successful sequel will not be the last starring this inventive, original child.

DORY AND THE REAL TRUE FRIEND

From the Dory Fantasmagory series , Vol. 2

Who will be 6-year-old Dory’s friend at school if she doesn’t take Mary the monster with her?

Dory’s older siblings have plenty of advice for the new school year: “Do NOT use your imagination!” her sister warns her. “DON’T BE YOURSELF.” Remembering the problems Mary caused the year before, Dory determines to start school without the imaginary friend who behaved so badly. Indeed, right away she meets a girl with a poufy dress and two missing front teeth, surely a potential friend. But how can Dory play with Rosabelle when the hopscotch girls drag her away at recess? Luckily, monster Mary gives better advice than her older sister does. Dory reverts to her imaginative self, and by the end of the week, she’s gained a real true friend whose imagination matches her own. Dory’s first-person account is punctuated by childlike black-and-white drawings, mirroring the action described and sometimes extending the story. Those who were introduced to Dory’s appealing fantasy world in Dory Fantasmagory (2014) will be pleased at the return of her fairy godmother, Mr. Nuggy, only temporarily transformed into a chicken by the witch Mrs. Gobble Gracker. The humor and familiar school setting will invite new fans.

Old friends and new will hope this highly successful sequel will not be the last starring this inventive, original child. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-525-42866-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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