From the Pippa Morgan's Diary series , Vol. 1

Likable characters in humorous situations make for a promising series opener.

Poor Pippa! Her desire to fill the hole left by her best friend’s move is so great that she tells a whopper to make a new friend. Her self-reflective, humorous journal tells all.

Pippa is like many 10-year-olds: obsessed with a pop singer (Tiffany J), insecure when a friend moves away, and filled with big dreams. One thing is clear: she will never be a singer. Her music teacher even discourages her from singing in the chorus! When popular girl Catie Brown sits next to her and shows an interest in the TV show Voice Factor, Pippa lets slip a lie: “I auditioned for it.” And, since she has imagined her audition so many times, she goes on to describe the amazing success of her singing voice and the standing ovation from the judges. Their friendship grows on this lie, and Pippa goes to great lengths (and many more lies) to protect the fib. When the truth finally comes out, Pippa weathers the awkward storm. While the resolution might be a tad predictable for middle-grade squabbles, readers will get a good glimpse at how kids can untangle themselves from complicated predicaments. Droll line drawings decorate Pippa’s journal, making this a good bridge book to longer chapter books.

Likable characters in humorous situations make for a promising series opener. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4926-2328-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015


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

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


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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