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From the hilarious to the hair-raising, this beginning chapter book chronicles the capers of two curious siblings. Evan and Julia, greet each adventure—or calamity, depending upon your perspective—with enthusiasm. Their stories encompass the quirky, everyday events that inevitably occur with children, as well as a few extraordinary ones. Whatever the situation, this unflappable duo can handle it: from the myriad of ingenious uses the two think up for their new umbrellas in “Cloudy with a Chance of Rain” to identifying robbery suspects in “Pet Store Holdup.” The pragmatic tone of the narrative is in direct contrast to the outlandish events, greatly contributing to the overall humor; when Evan is hurtling towards a pond on his sister’s bike, “ ‘Stop, bicycle!’ he tells it in that second before its wheel hits the rim. But the bicycle doesn’t. As far as those watching can tell, it doesn’t even slow down. Up and over the rim it goes, with Evan still on it.” Carpenter’s (A Picnic in October, 1999, etc.) simple black-and-white sketches are sprinkled throughout the text, offering engaging vignettes for readers’ perusal. The nine brief chapters function independently of each other, easily lending themselves to individual read-aloud sessions for less experienced readers. With a keen understanding of children permeating the pages and an abundance of humor and adventure, young audiences will find this one irresistible. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 31, 2000

ISBN: 0-688-16947-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

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From the Lemonade War series , Vol. 1

Told from the point of view of two warring siblings, this could have been an engaging first chapter book. Unfortunately, the length makes it less likely to appeal to the intended audience. Jessie and Evan are usually good friends as well as sister and brother. But the news that bright Jessie will be skipping a grade to join Evan’s fourth-grade class creates tension. Evan believes himself to be less than clever; Jessie’s emotional maturity doesn’t quite measure up to her intelligence. Rivalry and misunderstandings grow as the two compete to earn the most money in the waning days of summer. The plot rolls along smoothly and readers will be able to both follow the action and feel superior to both main characters as their motivations and misconceptions are clearly displayed. Indeed, a bit more subtlety in characterization might have strengthened the book’s appeal. The final resolution is not entirely believable, but the emphasis on cooperation and understanding is clear. Earnest and potentially successful, but just misses the mark. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 23, 2007

ISBN: 0-618-75043-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2007

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From the Rafi and Rosi series

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape.

The fourth installment in Delacre’s early-reader series centers on the rich musical traditions of Puerto Rico, once again featuring sibling tree frogs Rafi and Rosi Coquí.

Readers learn along with Rafi and Rosi as they explore bomba, plena, and salsa in three chapters. A glossary at the beginning sets readers up well to understand the Spanish vocabulary, including accurate phoneticization for non-Spanish speakers. The stories focus on Rafi and Rosi’s relationship within a musical context. For example, in one chapter Rafi finds out that he attracts a larger audience playing his homemade güiro with Rosi’s help even though he initially excluded her: “Big brothers only.” Even when he makes mistakes, as the older brother, Rafi consoles Rosi when she is embarrassed or angry at him. In each instance, their shared joy for music and dance ultimately shines through any upsets—a valuable reflection of unity. Informational backmatter and author’s sources are extensive. Undoubtedly these will help teachers, librarians, and parents to develop Puerto Rican cultural programs, curriculum, or home activities to extend young readers’ learning. The inclusion of instructions to make one’s own homemade güiro is a thoughtful addition. The Spanish translation, also by Delacre and published simultaneously, will require a more advanced reader than the English one to recognize and comprehend contractions (“pa’bajo-pa-pa’rriba”) and relatively sophisticated vocabulary.

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape. (Early reader. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-89239-429-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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