Next book

TROUBLE-MAKER

Clay has finesse. He can create mischief with such cheerful aplomb that he can charm even the principal’s assistant, who has...

Clay learns that it’s easy to get into trouble but far more difficult to get out of it in this breezy Scared Straight–type novel for the elementary-school set.

Clay has finesse. He can create mischief with such cheerful aplomb that he can charm even the principal’s assistant, who has been documenting Clay’s misdeeds since kindergarten.  A clever boy and a talented artist, Clay is bursting with enthusiasm for his pranks. Clay loves and emulates his older brother, Mitch, who was the pre-eminent troublemaker before him. However, Mitch, unlike Clay, has taken his misdeeds to a level of aggression that fun-loving Clay does not. The day Mitch is to come home from prison, Clay undertakes a master antic to impress him and is devastated when Mitch slaps him and demands that he shape up or else end up like himself. Thus begins a makeover, as Mitch gets Clay a new wardrobe and stipulates new rules by which to live. Clay is certain that he looks like Mr. Potato Head with his new haircut, but he’s dedicated to pleasing his brother. School provides terrific opportunities for mischief that Clay finds hard to resist, especially the launchable lunch food. But the hardest part of this new life is the rift growing between him and his best buddy, co-trickster Hank. Clements here enters into provocative territory and pulls it off like the pro he is. Kids will easily relate to Clay, and the secondary characters come alive as well.

Pub Date: July 26, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4169-4930-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

Next book

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

Next book

THE ONE AND ONLY FAMILY

From the One and Only series , Vol. 4

Not the most satisfying wrap-up, but it’s always good to spend time in the world of this series.

Beloved gorilla Ivan becomes a father to rambunctious twins in this finale to a quartet that began with 2012’s Newbery Award–winning The One and Only Ivan.

Life hasn’t always been easy for silverback gorilla Ivan, who’s spent most of his life being mistreated in captivity. Now he’s living in a wildlife sanctuary, but he still gets to see his two best friends. Young elephant Ruby lives in the grassy habitat next door, and former stray dog Bob has a home with one of the zookeepers. All three were rescued from the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. Ivan’s expanded world includes fellow gorilla Kinyani—the two are about to become parents, and Ivan is revisiting the traumas of his past in light of what he wants the twins to know. When the subject inevitably comes up, Applegate’s trust and respect for readers is evident. She doesn’t shy away from hard truths as Ivan wrestles with the fact that poachers killed his family. Readers will need the context provided by knowledge of the earlier books to feel the full emotional impact of this story. The rushed ending unfortunately falls flat, detracting from the central message that a complex life can still contain hope. Final art not seen.

Not the most satisfying wrap-up, but it’s always good to spend time in the world of this series. (gorilla games, glossary, author’s note) (Verse fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9780063221123

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

Close Quickview