Only a stooge couldn’t love Ivy and Bean

IVY AND BEAN TAKE THE CASE

From the Ivy + Bean series , Vol. 10

The intrigue swirls thick ’round Pancake Court.

Inspired by a black-and-white movie her mother watches with her even though it’s not on the list of 10 movies without mean people, smoking, bad words and tiny clothes, Bean goes into the PI business. Donning an old fedora, in no time she attracts the attention of the other neighborhood children, including best friend Ivy. Bean solves a couple of mysteries—what’s under the cement lids in all the lawns, why the letter carrier takes a two-hour nap every day—but the kids are not particularly impressed. Then a real mystery arises: A bright yellow rope appears, tied around Dino’s chimney and trailing onto his lawn. Incredibly, each day it lengthens, sprawling around the cul-de-sac and evidently evading the notice of every adult there. Bean’s reputation is at stake. Her efforts to nab Mr. Whoever-ties-the-rope involve lots of shared speculation and a midnight stakeout with loyal Ivy…but no perp. As always, Barrows’ keen understanding of children yields scenarios that are right on the money: Bean cheerfully watches her mother’s favorite noir classic and gleans only the details her mother would rather she not have noticed; she sets and resets a kitchen timer four times in order to wake up at midnight. And her nonsolution results in a conclusion that will madden adults but that is wisely, perfectly childlike.

Only a stooge couldn’t love Ivy and Bean . (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0699-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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Everything that readers have come to love about the Elephant & Piggie books is present—masterful pacing, easy-to-follow,...

MY NEW FRIEND IS SO FUN!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Can Gerald and Piggie’s friendship withstand the friendly overtures of Brian Bat?

When Snake informs Gerald that Piggie is playing with Brian Bat, he is at first complacent. Brian is “nice,” he observes; Snake concurs—after all, he says, “Brian is my Best Friend!” Their mutual reflection that Piggie and Brian “must be having a super-duper fun time!” turns, however, to paranoia when they realize that if their best pals “are having that much fun together, then… / …maybe they do not need us” (that last is printed in teeny-tiny, utterly demoralized type). Gerald and Snake dash/slither to put an end to the fun. Their fears are confirmed when the two new buddies tell them they have “been playing BEST FRIEND GAMES!”—which, it turns out, means making drawings of their respective best friends, Gerald and Snake. Awww. While the buildup to the friends’ confrontation is characteristically funny, there’s a certain feeling of anticlimax to the story’s resolution. How many young children, when playing with a new friend, are likely to spend their time thinking of the friends that they are not playing with? This is unfortunate, as the emotions that Gerald and Snake experience are realistic and profound, deserving of more than a platitudinous, unrealistic response.

Everything that readers have come to love about the Elephant & Piggie books is present—masterful pacing, easy-to-follow, color-coded speech bubbles, hilarious body language—except an emotionally satisfying ending. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7958-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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