Be prepared. Readers say farewell to Anna Hibiscus as tears “drop off the corners of her smile.” (Fiction. 5-9)

YOU'RE AMAZING, ANNA HIBISCUS

From the Anna Hibiscus series , Vol. 8

The importance of family during difficult times permeates the final book in the Anna Hibiscus series.

In the gentle, frank tone readers have come to expect, gifted storyteller Atinuke balances compassion and humor while tackling a sensitive subject, the death of Anna’s beloved grandfather. The first chapter sets the scene. Anna is back at home in the mixed-race family’s city compound with Anna’s twin little brothers, Double and Trouble, getting in all sorts of mischief—deleting pictures on Uncle Tunde’s cellphone but saving the day by climbing in a window when the doors are accidentally locked. Meanwhile, Grandfather is growing more and more tired. Family members take turns sitting with him, but Anna refuses, hoping that if she doesn’t think about “the really bad thing” it will not happen. “Then one day Grandfather did not wake up anymore.” Anna is grief-stricken. In the final two chapters Anna, tenderly supported by her loving extended family, all also grieving, each in their own way, learns to listen for Grandfather’s voice in her heart. The book ends with near-perfect modeling of shared grief and healing, as everyone tells their favorite grandfather story. Readers’ understanding of Anna’s genuine grief is amplified by Tobia’s grayscale sketches.

Be prepared. Readers say farewell to Anna Hibiscus as tears “drop off the corners of her smile.” (Fiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61067-681-6

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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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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