A mix of chortle-inducing comedic insight and cringeworthy comic tropes.

WEIRDO

From the WeirDo series , Vol. 1

Once again the new kid at a new school, Weir (last name Do, rhymes with “go”) learns that his name is just the beginning of his problems.

With an episodic narrative style perfect for fans of David Pilkey and his ilk, author Do introduces Weir, his ridiculous and recognizable family, his propensity to say and do the wrong things, and his growing crush on Bella Allen. Dynamic type changes and Faber’s clean line drawings punctuate the spare text, making this an accessible choice for emergent and reluctant readers. Weir’s apparently multiracial family (black-haired dad was born in Vietnam, and light-haired mom’s maiden name was Weir), including a flagrantly flatulent farter—er, father and a terror of a toddler brother, should resonate with a range of readers. Of less interest and relevance to readers of this genre, perhaps, are Weir’s expressions of gendered norms. Younger readers may find Weir’s romance unlikely or even off-putting, and older readers may wonder at the casual misogyny of a boys’ muscle contest. Weir’s description of Bella as the “seventh-best-looking girl at school,” complete with an illustration of the seven girls lined up in order of prettiness, is equally unnecessary and unfunny, as is a reference to gendered clothing. All of the characters are depicted with paper-white skin.

A mix of chortle-inducing comedic insight and cringeworthy comic tropes. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-30558-6

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet!

WAYS TO MAKE SUNSHINE

From the Ryan Hart series , Vol. 1

Ryan Hart is navigating the fourth grade and all its challenges with determination.

Her mom named her Ryan because it means “king,” and she wanted Ryan to feel powerful every time she heard her name; Ryan knows it means she is a leader. So when changes occur or disaster strikes, budding chef Ryan does her best to find the positive and “make sunshine.” When her dad is laid off from the post office, the family must make adjustments that include moving into a smaller house, selling their car, and changing how they shop for groceries. But Ryan gets to stay at Vernon Elementary, and her mom still finds a way to get her the ingredients she needs to practice new recipes. Her older brother, Ray, can be bossy, but he finds little ways to support her, especially when she is down—as does the whole family. Each episodic chapter confronts Ryan with a situation; intermittently funny, frustrating, and touching, they should be familiar and accessible to readers, as when Ryan fumbles her Easter speech despite careful practice. Ryan, her family, and friends are Black, and Watson continues to bring visibility to both Portland, Oregon, generally and its Black community specifically, making another wonderful contribution that allows Black readers to see themselves and all readers to find a character they can love.

Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet! (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0056-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse.

MEET THE BIGFEET

From the Yeti Files series , Vol. 1

It’s a Bigfeet family reunion!

Everyone’s favorite frosty, furry cryptid, the yeti, actually has a name: Blizz Richards. From his supersecret HQ in Nepal he keeps in touch with his fellow cryptids, all of whom have sworn an oath to keep themselves hidden. That’s not always easy, especially when there are cryptozoologists, like the nasty (but bumbling) George Vanquist, who are always trying to expose the secretive creatures. Vanquist got a picture of Blizz’s cousin Brian near his home in British Columbia, causing the mortified Brian to disappear entirely. When Blizz receives an invitation to a Bigfeet family reunion in Canada, he calls his buddies Alexander (one of Santa’s elves), Gunthar (a goblin) and Frank the Arctic fox to help him get ready. When they arrive in Canada, Brian is still nowhere to be seen. Can Blizz and his skunk ape and other sasquatch cousins find Brian, have the reunion and evade Vanquist? If anyone can, the Bigfeet clan can. Illustrator Sherry’s first volume in the Yeti Files is a fast and funny graphic-prose tale full of labeled pictures and comic-style panels. Those just starting chapter books may have some trouble with a few big words, but they’ll enjoy the big friendly monsters and immediately ask for the next tale—which looks to be about the Loch Ness monster.

Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-55617-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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