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THE $150,000 RUGELACH

A refreshing and uplifting book filled with friendship, heartache, and a generous sprinkling of love.

Jack Fineman and Jillian Mermelstein love to bake.

Jack dreams of becoming a world-famous pastry chef, while Jillian clings to happy memories of baking with her late mother. When Jillian, the new girl at Sieberling School, makes the most delicious chocolate rugelach for their sixth grade winter party, Jack knows he has serious competition. How will he ever win local baking company CEO Phineas Farnsworth III’s Bakerstown Bonanza when he turns 18 with Jillian as his rival? When Jillian is paired with Jack and his best friend, Chad, for a class project, she is at first reluctant. However, they decide to try baking with insects, and it soon becomes clear that Jillian and Jack make a great team—with Chad as their cheerleader. When Farnsworth announces that this year’s contest will focus on child contestants, the two young bakers decide to enter for very different reasons: Jack is looking for fame, while Jillian only wants the prize money to help her family. When they are selected to represent their school, they must again work together—especially when they discover Farnsworth is not what he seems. This sweet story is a delightful, quick read with a wonderfully charming cast of characters. The delicious descriptions of baked goods are sure to make readers’ mouths water; fortunately, three recipes are included. Main characters are White and Jewish.

A refreshing and uplifting book filled with friendship, heartache, and a generous sprinkling of love. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4998-1210-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Yellow Jacket

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2019

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BECOMING MUHAMMAD ALI

From the Becoming Ali series , Vol. 1

A stellar collaboration that introduces an important and intriguing individual to today’s readers.

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2020


  • New York Times Bestseller

Two bestselling authors imagine the boyhood of the man who became the legendary boxing icon Muhammad Ali.

Cassius was a spirited child growing up in segregated Louisville, Kentucky. He had a loving home with his parents and younger brother, Rudy. Granddaddy Herman also was an important figure, imparting life lessons. His parents wanted him to succeed in school, but Cassius had difficulty reading and found more pleasure in playing and exploring outdoors. Early on, he and Rudy knew the restrictions of being African American, for example, encountering “Whites Only” signs at parks, but the brothers dreamed of fame like that enjoyed by Black boxer Joe Louis. Popular Cassius was especially close to Lucius “Lucky” Wakely; despite their academic differences, their deep connection remained after Lucky received a scholarship to a Catholic school. When Cassius wandered into the Columbia Boxing Gym, it seemed to be destiny, and he developed into a successful youth boxer. Told in two voices, with prose for the voice of Lucky and free verse for Cassius, the narrative provides readers with a multidimensional view of the early life of and influences on an important figure in sports and social change. Lucky’s observations give context while Cassius’ poetry encapsulates his drive, energy, and gift with words. Combined with dynamic illustrations by Anyabwile, the book captures the historical and social environment that produced Muhammad Ali.

A stellar collaboration that introduces an important and intriguing individual to today’s readers. (bibliography) (Biographical novel. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-49816-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown and HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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