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

PIPPA MORGAN'S DIARY

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

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. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Plays to Rowling’s fan base; equally suited for gifting and reading aloud or alone.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE CHRISTMAS PIG

A 7-year-old descends into the Land of the Lost in search of his beloved comfort object.

Jack has loved Dur Pig long enough to wear the beanbag toy into tattered shapelessness—which is why, when his angry older stepsister chucks it out the car window on Christmas Eve, he not only throws a titanic tantrum and viciously rejects the titular replacement pig, but resolves to sneak out to find DP. To his amazement, the Christmas Pig offers to guide him to the place where all lost Things go. Whiffs of childhood classics, assembled with admirable professionalism into a jolly adventure story that plays all the right chords, hang about this tale of loss and love. Along with family drama, Rowling stirs in fantasy, allegory, and generous measures of social and political commentary. Pursued by the Land’s cruel and monstrous Loser, Jack and the Christmas Pig pass through territories from the Wastes of the Unlamented, where booger-throwing Bad Habits roam, to the luxurious City of the Missed for encounters with Hope, Happiness, and Power (a choleric king who rejects a vote that doesn’t go his way). A joyful reunion on the Island of the Beloved turns poignant, but Christmas Eve being “a night for miracles and lost causes,” perhaps there’s still a chance (with a little help from Santa) for everything to come right? In both the narrative and Field’s accomplished, soft-focus illustrations, the cast presents White.

Plays to Rowling’s fan base; equally suited for gifting and reading aloud or alone. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-79023-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

Rich, naturalistic details will delight lovers of marine life.

ODDER

A Monterey Bay sea otter comes of age.

Odder’s mom told her to stay away from sharks, humans, and anything else she didn’t understand, but after saving her friend Kairi from a shark attack, she encounters all three. Injured herself during the rescue, Odder ends up recuperating at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, or Highwater as the otters call it, where she once lived as a young orphaned pup. Last time, the humans helped her reintegrate into the wild, but because of her injuries this time the outcome might be different. Soon Kairi is there too, stricken with “the shaking sickness” and having lost her newborn pup. Now Kairi is fostering a new pup, and soon one is introduced to an initially reluctant Odder in hopes that she will help raise it so it can return to the wild. The free verse effortlessly weaves in scientific information, giving Odder a voice without overly anthropomorphizing any of the animals. The natural appeal of sea otters will draw readers in, but the book doesn’t shy away from real-world threats such as predators, disease, and pollution. Loosely based on the stories of real sea otters rehabilitated at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, this novel will give readers lots to talk about, but uneven pacing and a rushed ending may leave some unsatisfied. Charming black-and-white spot art captures the world and life of the sea.

Rich, naturalistic details will delight lovers of marine life. (glossary, author’s note, bibliography, resources) (Verse novel. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-14742-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more