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THE LOSERS CLUB

Another upbeat, modern school story sure to please fans and teachers.

There’s no such thing as too much reading…until it gets you in trouble.

Sixth-grader Alec loves to read. For the past five years he has been sent to principal Mrs. Vance’s office multiple times for reading instead of paying attention in class. As sixth grade starts, Mrs. Vance gives the white preteen an ultimatum: stop reading when he should be listening or end up in summer school (which will destroy the annual family trip to New Hampshire). Worse than that, his parents will be spending longer hours at work, so he and his brother have to stay three extra hours in the Extended Day Program at school. According to EDP rules you either do homework in the library or you join a club. Happily, Alec learns he can actually start his own club, which he calls the Losers Club in order to scare kids away and ensure quiet reading time. Former best friend and now popular kid Kent delights in tormenting Alec, especially when the boys realize they both like new girl Nina (co-founder of the Losers Club). Can Alec navigate the rough waters of sixth grade, keep his grades up, and, most importantly, read? Clements adds to his growing oeuvre this tale peopled with likably familiar, mostly white kid characters in realistic situations; black Losers Club recruit Lily provides some diversity. Avid readers will cheer Alec on and wish their school bullies were as easily managed as Kent. Backmatter includes a list of the books, classics and popular, that the kids read throughout the story.

Another upbeat, modern school story sure to please fans and teachers. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-55755-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

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A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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THE ONE AND ONLY RUBY

From the One and Only series , Vol. 3

Certain to steal hearts.

In this follow-up to 2020’s The One and Only Bob, Ruby the elephant is still living at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary.

She’s apprehensive about her Tuskday, a rite of passage for young elephants when she’ll give a speech in front of the rest of the herd. Luckily, she can confide in her Uncle Ivan, who is next door in Gorilla World, and Uncle Bob, the dog who lives nearby with human friend Julia. Ruby was born in an unspecified part of Africa, later ending up on display in the mall, where she met Ivan, Bob, and Julia. The unexpected arrival of someone from Ruby’s past life on the savanna revives memories both warmly nostalgic and deeply traumatic. An elephant glossary and Castelao’s charming, illustrated guide to elephant body language help immerse readers in Ruby’s world. Goofy, playful, and mischievous Ruby is fully dimensional, as she has shown her bravery during the many hardships of her young life. Applegate deftly tempers themes of grief and loss with compassion and humor as Ruby finds her place in the herd. The author’s note touches on climate change, the illegal ivory trade, and conservation efforts, but the highly emotive framing of the story through the memories of a bewildered baby elephant emphasizes the impact of lines such as “ ‘in Africa,’ I say softly, ‘there were bad people,’ ” without offering readers a nuanced understanding of the broader context that drives poaching.

Certain to steal hearts. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9780063080089

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

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