Though the format is attractive, its rambling airiness will disappoint Lindgren fans and have a limited audience.

IN THE LAND OF TWILIGHT

The third book from this Swedish team relates a fanciful dream tale that sharply contrasts with their realistic previous two (A Calf for Christmas and Goran’s Great Escape, 2010, 2011).

Told in first person by a boy who’s been told he won’t walk again because of a bad leg, the tale recounts his visit to the Land of Twilight with Mr. Lilyvale, who comes through his window. They fly over the sights and scenes of Stockholm, from the spire of St. Clara’s Church to Kronoberg Park, where red and yellow candies grow on trees. The boy drives a tram off a bridge and into a river and then steers a bus to a countryside farm, where he meets a talking moose, dances and eats. Mr. Lilyvale even presents him at court to the King and Queen of the Land of Twilight. Throughout their travels, Mr. Lilyvale repeatedly says, “Nothing really matters in the Land of Twilight,” with the last sentence explicitly affirming the sentiment: “It really doesn’t matter if you have a bad leg, because in the Land of Twilight you can fly.” The message seems questionable here—that your imagination can take you anywhere? At times readers may find themselves wondering if it isn't an extended metaphor for death. The watercolor illustrations waft across the pages, incorporating twilight colors in a breezy style.

Though the format is attractive, its rambling airiness will disappoint Lindgren fans and have a limited audience. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: June 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-86315-886-5

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Floris

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent.

HORTON AND THE KWUGGERBUG AND MORE LOST STORIES

Published in magazines, never seen since / Now resurrected for pleasure intense / Versified episodes numbering four / Featuring Marco, and Horton and more!

All of the entries in this follow-up to The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories (2011) involve a certain amount of sharp dealing. Horton carries a Kwuggerbug through crocodile-infested waters and up a steep mountain because “a deal is a deal”—and then is cheated out of his promised share of delicious Beezlenuts. Officer Pat heads off escalating, imagined disasters on Mulberry Street by clubbing a pesky gnat. Marco (originally met on that same Mulberry Street) concocts a baroque excuse for being late to school. In the closer, a smooth-talking Grinch (not the green sort) sells a gullible Hoobub a piece of string. In a lively introduction, uber-fan Charles D. Cohen (The Seuss, The Whole Seuss, and Nothing but the Seuss, 2002) provides publishing histories, places characters and settings in Seussian context, and offers insights into, for instance, the origin of “Grinch.” Along with predictably engaging wordplay—“He climbed. He grew dizzy. His ankles grew numb. / But he climbed and he climbed and he clum and he clum”—each tale features bright, crisply reproduced renditions of its original illustrations. Except for “The Hoobub and the Grinch,” which has been jammed into a single spread, the verses and pictures are laid out in spacious, visually appealing ways.

Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-38298-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the...

CHARLIE BUMPERS VS. THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR

From the Charlie Bumpers series , Vol. 1

Charlie Bumpers is doomed. The one teacher he never wanted in the whole school turns out to be his fourth-grade teacher.

Charlie recalls third grade, when he accidentally hit the scariest teacher in the whole school with his sneaker. “I know all about you, Charlie Bumpers,” she says menacingly on the first day of fourth grade. Now, in addition to all the hardships of starting school, he has gotten off on the wrong foot with her. Charlie’s dry and dramatic narrative voice clearly reveals the inner life of a 9-year-old—the glass is always half empty, especially in light of a series of well-intentioned events gone awry. It’s quite a litany: “Hitting Mrs. Burke in the head with the sneaker. The messy desk. The swinging on the door. The toilet paper. And now this—the shoe on the roof.” Harley has teamed once again with illustrator Gustavson (Lost and Found, 2012) to create a real-life world in which a likable kid must face the everyday terrors of childhood: enormous bullies, looming teachers and thick gym coaches with huge pointing fingers. Into this series opener, Harley magically weaves the simple lesson that people, even teachers, can surprise you.

Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the sarcasm of Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-732-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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