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From the One Mean Ant series

A satisfying end to an entertaining series.

Yorinks and Ruzzier’s ant, fly, and flea—with the help of a moth—successfully escape Jim’s Flea Circus.

In this third and final installment of the life of One Mean Ant, the disgruntled ant is stuck performing circus acts with his friends, the fly and the flea (introduced in the second volume, One Mean Ant With Fly and Flea, 2020). Their “death-defying” acts, performed for audiences anemic in size, have them feeling like prisoners. But the ant devises an escape plan, one that incorporates the dimwitted moth who performs in another of Jim’s acts. In a nail-biting escape, they break free—and even keep an eye out for one another in the process: “They were friends, after all.” The author seamlessly and succinctly summarizes the plot of the first two books, so that any reader meeting these characters anew will not be confused. The characters’ dialogue is lively, the humor in their arguments stemming from their overriding personality traits—the choleric ant; the peacemaking but rather dense fly; the frustrated flea; and the addled moth—with the ant getting so frustrated that he repeatedly bangs his head on the floor. There is much humor in Ruzzier’s depictions of these googly-eyed characters, particularly in the ant’s furrowed brows and the moth’s constant state of bewilderment. Their determination to save one another in the end is made all the more poignant by the book’s lack of sentimentality. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A satisfying end to an entertaining series. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8396-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists.

How to raise money for a coveted poster: put your friends to work!

John, founder of the FUBU fashion line and a Shark Tank venture capitalist, offers a self-referential blueprint for financial success. Having only half of the $10 he needs for a Minka J poster, Daymond forks over $1 to buy a plain T-shirt, paints a picture of the pop star on it, sells it for $5, and uses all of his cash to buy nine more shirts. Then he recruits three friends to decorate them with his design and help sell them for an unspecified amount (from a conveniently free and empty street-fair booth) until they’re gone. The enterprising entrepreneur reimburses himself for the shirts and splits the remaining proceeds, which leaves him with enough for that poster as well as a “brand-new business book,” while his friends express other fiscal strategies: saving their share, spending it all on new art supplies, or donating part and buying a (math) book with the rest. (In a closing summation, the author also suggests investing in stocks, bonds, or cryptocurrency.) Though Miles cranks up the visual energy in her sparsely detailed illustrations by incorporating bright colors and lots of greenbacks, the actual advice feels a bit vague. Daymond is Black; most of the cast are people of color. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-56727-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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