Both lovely and deeply empathetic.

READ REVIEW

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MORNING

When old age takes its toll on Grandpa’s memory, Noah learns to value every moment with him.

Noah’s summer days with Grandpa are full of fun activities. They boom out a loud song together as they make morning coffee. More songs fill the air as they walk the dog before breakfast; when they return home, they get to eat Grandma’s special cinnamon French toast. One morning, Grandpa forgets how to cut his French toast and can’t remember who Noah is. Noah runs out of the house, a painful lump in his throat. Fortunately, Grandma is able to explain that Grandpa gets confused sometimes. “We have to appreciate what he still has.” Noah goes ahead, walking the dog by himself, feeding the birds, and plunking out one of Grandpa’s favorite tunes on the piano. Grandpa suddenly appears, his bright old self, singing the song at the top of his lungs. Levine treats his sensitive subject with simple pathos. Kath depicts a loving white trio; Noah’s parents are not in evidence, letting readers imagine either that he is a regular overnight visitor or that he lives with his grandparents. She uses color subtly, graying her movement-filled line-and-watercolor paintings for those moments when Grandpa forgets and filling them with color when he remembers. Readers who also find themselves with cognitively failing loved ones would do well to heed Noah’s wisdom as he plans “to go for as long as the song would last.”

Both lovely and deeply empathetic. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7624-5906-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character

PEDRO, FIRST-GRADE HERO

From the Pedro series , Vol. 1

The creators of the Katie Woo series turn their focus to a peripheral character, first-grader Pedro—Katie’s friend and schoolmate.

Four short chapters—“Pedro Goes Buggy,” “Pedro’s Big Goal,” “Pedro’s Mystery Club,” and “Pedro For President”—highlight a Latino main character surrounded by a superbly diverse cast. At times unsure of himself, Pedro is extremely likable, for he wants to do his best and is a fair friend. He consistently comes out on top, even when his younger brother releases all the bugs he’s captured for a class assignment or when self-assured bully Roddy tries to unite opposition to Pedro’s female opponent (Katie Woo) in the race for first-grade class president. Using a third-person, past-tense narrative voice, Manushkin expands her repertoire by adding a hero comparable to EllRay Jakes. What is refreshing about the book is that for the most part, aside from Roddy’s gender-based bullying, the book overcomes boy-girl stereotypes: girls and boys play soccer, boys and girls run for president, girls and boys hunt for bugs, all setting a progressive standard for chapter books. With mixed-media illustrations featuring colorful bugs, soccer action, a mystery hunt, and a presidential campaign, Lyon’s attention to detail in color and facial expressions complements the story nicely.

This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character . (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5158-0112-2

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Picture Window Books

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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PUG BLASTS OFF

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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