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


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

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 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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


From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

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. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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A multicultural title with obvious appeal for animal-loving middle graders.


When a Bengali boy finds and saves a tiger cub from a man who wants to sell her on the black market, he realizes that the schoolwork he resents could lead to a career protecting his beloved Sunderbans island home.

When the not-yet-weaned cub escapes from a nearby reserve, Neel and many of his neighbors join the search. But some are in the pay of greedy Gupta, a shady entrepreneur who’s recently settled in their community. Even Neel’s father is tempted by Gupta’s money, although he knows that Gupta doesn’t plan to take the cub back to the refuge. Neel and his sister use the boy’s extensive knowledge of the island’s swampy interior to find the cub’s hiding place and lure it out so it can be returned to its mother. The Kolkota-born author visited the remote Sunderbans in the course of her research. She lovingly depicts this beautiful tropical forest in the context of Neel’s efforts to find the cub and his reluctance to leave his familiar world. While the conflicts resolve a bit too easily, the sense of place is strong and the tiger cub’s rescue very satisfying. Pastel illustrations will help readers envision the story.

A multicultural title with obvious appeal for animal-loving middle graders. (author's note, organizations, glossary) (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58089-660-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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