Useful for both the very youngest listeners and their caregivers when they long for outside.

LET'S GO OUTSIDE!

From the Indestructibles series

Young children are encouraged to imagine all the fun they can have when they “go outside!”

Five simple outdoor scenes focus on natural elements that toddlers will easily recognize: the sun in the sky, tall trees, buzzing bees, a sunset. Even a swimming-hole scene is sufficiently generic so either city children or country kids might picture themselves in it. The children and families (depicted with various skin tones) exude cheerful companionship and love. Details for little ones to notice and talk about are scattered throughout the uncluttered, cut-paper illustrations. Saturated colors against high-contrast backgrounds keep the design clean. One line of engaging text per spread is just right for the age group. Instructions to “Look up at the big, blue sky!” and “Now STRETCH like a tall, tall tree” are followed by questions that invite listeners to “SPLISH like a fish” and buzz like a bee. The final spread includes eight recognizable animals and an open-ended question to spark more vocabulary-building interaction. Branded “indestructible,” the Tyvek-like material may actually be just that. With a typical board-book trim size and light paperback weight, this one is sturdy enough to survive teething babies stuck at home as well as trips to the park or woods.

Useful for both the very youngest listeners and their caregivers when they long for outside. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5235-0986-7

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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A witty addition to the long-running series.

THE DEEP END

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 15

The Wimpy Kid hits the road.

The Heffley clan has been stuck living together in Gramma’s basement for two months, waiting for the family home to be repaired, and the constant togetherness has been getting on everybody’s nerves. Luckily Greg’s Uncle Gary has a camper waiting for someone to use it, and so the Heffleys set off on the open road looking for an adventurous vacation, hoping the changing scenery will bring a spark back to the family unit. The winding road leads the Heffleys to a sprawling RV park, a setting teeming with possibilities for Greg to get up to his usual shenanigans. Greg’s snarky asides and misadventures continue to entertain. At this point the Wimpy Kid books run like a well-oiled machine, paced perfectly with witty lines, smart gags, and charming cartoons. Kinney knows just where to put a joke, the precise moment to give a character shading, and exactly how to get the narrative rolling, spinning out the oddest plot developments. The appreciation Kinney has for these characters seeps through the novels, endearing the Heffleys to readers even through this title, the 15th installment in a franchise boasting spinoffs, movies, and merchandise. There may come a time when Greg and his family overstay their welcome, but thankfully that day still seems far off.

A witty addition to the long-running series. (Humor. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4868-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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An endearing protagonist runs the first, fast leg of Reynolds' promising relay.

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GHOST

From the Track series , Vol. 1

Castle “Ghost” Cranshaw feels like he’s been running ever since his dad pulled that gun on him and his mom—and used it.

His dad’s been in jail three years now, but Ghost still feels the trauma, which is probably at the root of the many “altercations” he gets into at middle school. When he inserts himself into a practice for a local elite track team, the Defenders, he’s fast enough that the hard-as-nails coach decides to put him on the team. Ghost is surprised to find himself caring enough about being on the team that he curbs his behavior to avoid “altercations.” But Ma doesn’t have money to spare on things like fancy running shoes, so Ghost shoplifts a pair that make his feet feel impossibly light—and his conscience correspondingly heavy. Ghost’s narration is candid and colloquial, reminiscent of such original voices as Bud Caldwell and Joey Pigza; his level of self-understanding is both believably childlike and disarming in its perception. He is self-focused enough that secondary characters initially feel one-dimensional, Coach in particular, but as he gets to know them better, so do readers, in a way that unfolds naturally and pleasingly. His three fellow “newbies” on the Defenders await their turns to star in subsequent series outings. Characters are black by default; those few white people in Ghost’s world are described as such.

An endearing protagonist runs the first, fast leg of Reynolds' promising relay. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5015-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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