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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A charming read that demystifies the work of making a movie and celebrates the gifts of authentic friendship.

MARCUS MAKES A MOVIE

Marcus, obsessed with making comics, finds new ambitions for his superhero character Toothpick when he joins an after-school filmaking club.

Always-working comedian Hart enters the children’s-literature world with this middle-grade novel uplifting one of the profound life lessons that helped catapult him to global superstardom. It’s certainly not a biography, but one can see the shades of reality, with a young Black boy who’s short and funny making his way into film. Marcus’ gift for storytelling is nurtured by his love of making comics (represented visually throughout by Cooper). Readers come to understand how these creative acts help process stress and grief via striking conversations between Marcus and his loving father that also show the critical importance of developing emotional language. After an inspiring first day of film class, Marcus declares that he will make the most awesome movie ever—but there’s a gigantic difference between making comics and making a movie: You can’t make a movie alone. He’s going to have to work with peers who challenge him. Through Marcus’ experiences, young readers will learn about the many different concepts, tools, and techniques that are part of the behind-the-camera filmmaking endeavor. Unfortunately, lumping Toni Morrison in with William Shakespeare as just another “dead author” is a distasteful moment in an otherwise enjoyable read. The book adheres to a Black default.

A charming read that demystifies the work of making a movie and celebrates the gifts of authentic friendship. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-17914-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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