ROBERT AND THE LEMMING PROBLEM

Robert is back (Robert and the Back-to-School Special, 2002, etc.) and is facing some of the same challenges that most third-graders face: does he want to follow the group? Does he have any special talents that are his own? Can he withstand peer pressure? One of the cooler kids in his class is teasing him; seems his sneakers are not the current fashion. He begs for new shoes, wears too-small hiking books as a ruse, and giant blisters earn him an unwanted trip to the nurse’s office. Robert’s kind, understanding parents are always right there to help keep Robert on course—not like the lemmings his dad talks about. They understand his insecurities, listen, and let him find his way. His teacher, Mrs. Bernthal, gives the class an assignment: try something new. The indefatigable Robert takes on the challenge with the same good spirit that he has shown in earlier episodes of this amusing series. He tries asparagus (“It stinks!”) and painting (“I stink!”) and then, finally, he attempts the tuba (“Cool!”). It’s hard not to cheer for this pint-sized hero. His gentle conversations with Fuzzy, his pet tarantula, and his best friend Paul Felcher, show readers a gentle boy with a heart almost as big as the hair that illustrator Brewer has drawn for him. Just when the little trials of third grade threaten to take the smile off his face, his wise parents recognize just what their boy needs—a puppy. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-8126-2686-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Cricket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2003

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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NO MATTER WHAT

Small, a very little fox, needs some reassurance from Large in the unconditional love department. If he is grim and grumpy, will he still be loved? “ ‘Oh, Small,’ said Large, ‘grumpy or not, I’ll always love you, no matter what.’ “ So it goes, in a gentle rhyme, as Large parries any number of questions that for Small are very telling. What if he were to turn into a young bear, or squishy bug, or alligator? Would a mother want to hug and hold these fearsome animals? Yes, yes, answers Large. “But does love wear out? Does it break or bend? Can you fix it or patch it? Does it mend?” There is comfort in Gliori’s pages, but it is a result of repetition and not the imagery; this is a quick fix, not an enduring one, but it eases Small’s fears and may well do the same for children. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202061-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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