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From the According to Og the Frog series , Vol. 2

Readers craving more about Room 26 will enjoy the green frog with a heart of gold.

A gentle read that delivers a frog’s-eye view of the world.

Og the frog and the students of Longfellow School are back again for another interspecies romp. Og monitors the goings-on of Room 26 with amphibious aplomb as he observes the interpersonal struggles and social challenges faced by the students. Fans of Birney’s According to Humphrey series will recognize several plot points from Trouble According to Humphrey (2007), this time written from Og’s perspective. Og takes a cue from his fellow class pet, hamster Humphrey, and tries to make a positive impact on the students he comes to know. Inspired to explore by tales of human and frog adventurers, Og manages to make forays outside of his tank in between helping children. Og even spends several weekends at the home of principal Mr. Morales and his family, who sprinkle some Spanish words into their dialogue. No other clues around culture or ethnicity are given for the Morales family—or other characters in the story—so readers are left to guess at the significance of this addition. Og encounters several students who show characteristics of neurodiversity, and he accepts and encourages them when their teachers do not. Punctuated by Og’s froggy songs and poems as well as homespun wisdom from his very own Granny Greenleaf, the story hops along at a familiar pace.

Readers craving more about Room 26 will enjoy the green frog with a heart of gold. (Fantasy. 7-11)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-3997-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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From the First Cat in Space series , Vol. 1

Epic lunacy.

Will extragalactic rats eat the moon?

Can a cybernetic toenail clipper find a worthy purpose in the vast universe? Will the first feline astronaut ever get a slice of pizza? Read on. Reworked from the Live Cartoon series of homespun video shorts released on Instagram in 2020 but retaining that “we’re making this up as we go” quality, the episodic tale begins with the electrifying discovery that our moon is being nibbled away. Off blast one strong, silent, furry hero—“Meow”—and a stowaway robot to our nearest celestial neighbor to hook up with the imperious Queen of the Moon and head toward the dark side, past challenges from pirates on the Sea of Tranquility and a sphinx with a riddle (“It weighs a ton, but floats on air. / It’s bald but has a lot of hair.” The answer? “Meow”). They endure multiple close but frustratingly glancing encounters with pizza and finally deliver the malign, multiheaded Rat King and its toothy armies to a suitable fate. Cue the massive pizza party! Aside from one pirate captain and a general back on Earth, the human and humanoid cast in Harris’ loosely drawn cartoon panels, from the appropriately moon-faced queen on, is light skinned. Merch, music, and the original episodes are available on an associated website.

Epic lunacy. (Graphic science fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-308408-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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