WHO’S IN THE HALL?

In this verbose picture book Hearne (Seven Brave Women, 1997 etc.) hits home the parental dictum, “don’t open the door to strangers.” In an inner-city apartment building, Lizzy and her two dogs are left alone for a few moments by her babysitter. Lizzy remembers not to open the door when someone claiming to be the new janitor knocks and wants to come in to fix the sink. In another apartment, Rowan, Ryan, and their pet rat are also briefly left alone by their babysitter, and they too decline to open the door to the disembodied voice of the janitor. With everyone communicating through peepholes and seeing only the visitor’s lips there is some confusion as to who and where the janitor actually is. In the end the three children, two babysitters, and three pets meet up and become friends as the true identity of the janitor is revealed: the janitor is a woman. Hale’s (Elizabeth’s Doll, not reviewed) illustrations go a long way to improving the story with bold-lined watercolors fairly bouncing with energy and spirited characters. Also contributing to the kid-appeal is sidebar art of the interior of the building that affords an X-ray view of who is going up or down the stairs and elevators. It’s the rhyming and word play, “Wag and Wave and Willy-Nilly and Dizzy-Lizzy” that might keep the reader turning pages, because this mystery isn’t very mysterious. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2000

ISBN: 0-688-16261-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

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THE FENWAY FOUL-UP

BALLPARK MYSTERIES, #1

From the Ballpark Mysteries series , Vol. 1

A new series for emerging chapter-book readers combines the allure of baseball parks with the challenge of solving a mystery. Mike and Kate have tickets to a Red Sox game and an all-access pass to the park, courtesy of Kate's mom, a sportswriter. The pass comes in handy when it's reported that star player Big D's lucky bat has been stolen, as it allows them to help find the thief. Historical details about Fenway Park, including the secret code found on the manual scoreboard, a look at Wally the mascot and a peek into the gift shop, will keep the young baseball fan reading, even when the actual mystery of the missing bat falls a little flat. Writing mysteries for very young readers is a challenge—the puzzle has to be easy enough to solve while sustaining readers' interest. This slight adventure is more baseball-park travel pamphlet than mystery, a vehicle for providing interesting details about one of the hallowed halls of baseball. Not a homerun, but certainly a double for the young enthusiast. On deck? The Pinstripe Ghost, also out on Feb. 22, 2011. (historical notes) (Mystery. 6-9)

 

 

Pub Date: Feb. 22, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-86703-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2011

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Questioneers fans will not be disappointed; new fans will find this outing a timely introduction to the series.

SOFIA VALDEZ AND THE VANISHING VOTE

From the Questioneers series

The Questioneers are back for a new early chapter book, this one featuring Sofia Valdez, of Sofia Valdez, Future Prez (2019) fame.

Sofia and her friends from Miss Greer’s second grade class are back for another adventure. This time around, an election to select the new class pet offers lots of what Miss Greer likes to call Learning Experiences. Young civic activist Sofia is put in charge of managing the election, which pits candidates backed by two of her best friends against one another. Meanwhile, her cousin Marisella grapples with a pet problem of her own. Between friends and family, the election pulls Sofia in all directions, and she realizes that overseeing a fair election that runs smoothly proves to be a real challenge. Fortunately, she has sage advice from Abuelo and help from the local library to guide her. The short chapters and ample illustrations make for an accessible and entertaining early chapter book, full of fun and, yes, learning experiences. Extensive backmatter includes information on the importance of a free press, the true historical events behind Abuelo’s stories, and more information on how the voting process in the United States works. Sofia and her family have brown skin and are of Mexican heritage; her friends are diverse; and Miss Greer presents White. Marisella uses a wheelchair.

Questioneers fans will not be disappointed; new fans will find this outing a timely introduction to the series. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4350-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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