Quibbles aside, this attractive anthology will prove useful.

READ REVIEW

A YEAR FULL OF STORIES

52 FOLK TALES AND LEGENDS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

A seasonal collection of world folk stories.

Arranged according to the calendar, the selected stories sometimes have tangential connections to the holidays or observances denoted, linked only by culture. With all the stories about Chinese New Year, for instance, why choose an unrelated Chinese folk tale like “King of the Forest,” which does not even feature the animals of the Chinese zodiac? However, most stories have a thematic relationship, like the Indian “Rama and Sita” for Diwali and “The Legend of the Poinsettias” from Mexico for Christmas. Some stories are quite unusual (and sophisticated) such as the Inuit “Skeleton Woman” for World Music Day in June. Although the author includes information that Ramadan is the ninth Islamic month, the holiday is listed in June. Many will not understand that the lunar Islamic calendar means that the holiday can occur in any month in a 33-year cycle. This is a problem with other religious lunar calendars as well. The relatively small font and double-column text on some pages may be off-putting to children, but this is probably a book that adults will read aloud from. Corr’s stylized gouache illustrations in vibrant colors include full-bleed pages and smaller vignettes. Short descriptions of the holidays from many cultures and religions, as well as international commemorations, can be found at the end of the volume, but unfortunately, no story sources are included.

Quibbles aside, this attractive anthology will prove useful. (Folk tales. 7-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84780-868-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the...

CHARLIE BUMPERS VS. THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR

From the Charlie Bumpers series , Vol. 1

Charlie Bumpers is doomed. The one teacher he never wanted in the whole school turns out to be his fourth-grade teacher.

Charlie recalls third grade, when he accidentally hit the scariest teacher in the whole school with his sneaker. “I know all about you, Charlie Bumpers,” she says menacingly on the first day of fourth grade. Now, in addition to all the hardships of starting school, he has gotten off on the wrong foot with her. Charlie’s dry and dramatic narrative voice clearly reveals the inner life of a 9-year-old—the glass is always half empty, especially in light of a series of well-intentioned events gone awry. It’s quite a litany: “Hitting Mrs. Burke in the head with the sneaker. The messy desk. The swinging on the door. The toilet paper. And now this—the shoe on the roof.” Harley has teamed once again with illustrator Gustavson (Lost and Found, 2012) to create a real-life world in which a likable kid must face the everyday terrors of childhood: enormous bullies, looming teachers and thick gym coaches with huge pointing fingers. Into this series opener, Harley magically weaves the simple lesson that people, even teachers, can surprise you.

Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the sarcasm of Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-732-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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