A sixth book in the series is expected, to the delight of Charlie’s fans.

CHARLIE BUMPERS VS. THE PUNY PIRATES

From the Charlie Bumpers series , Vol. 5

Master storyteller Harley scores again with fourth-grader Charlie Bumpers and friends as they suffer on a losing soccer team.

Charlie, Hector, and Tommy could be the best soccer trio in history if only they could play offense at the same time. Why can’t coach Mr. Carmody see that? Harley’s fifth book in the Charlie Bumpers series sets the scene on the soccer field instead of the classroom or the school stage. Deftly straddling the gap between slapstick-level soccer beginners and serious preteen athletes, the Pirates focus on fundamentals while getting shellacked by all their opponents. Since winning a game seems elusive (although all the adults say they never keep score), the three friends pool their resources selling chocolate bars for the fundraiser. Maybe they can win that prize instead! Harley paints a world immediately familiar to most 9-year-olds and embellishes it with the high jinks that life provides. Charlie’s soccer team is terrible. Charlie’s family drives him crazy. Charlie loses the fundraising money. Nothing life-threatening, nothing alien, just honest-to-goodness growing up while learning to play for the love of the game. The surprise is that it is suspenseful, hilarious, and revealing, with no tidy solution at the end. This is a quick and easy read, comforting and diverse even if suburban; in addition to white Charlie, African-American Tommy, and Latino Hector, the Pirates are a nicely multiethnic team.

A sixth book in the series is expected, to the delight of Charlie’s fans. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-56145-939-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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The artist’s fans might key in, but most young readers will be left in the dark.

LITTLE.COM

When your computer powers down, the little “dot” is off-duty. You don’t think it just sits there, do you?

In this tipsy flight from Steadman, originally published overseas in 2000, the tidy dot on the first page is quickly transformed into mad splotches of black sporting googly eyes. It zooms through cyberspace to have tea—or, rather ink (“I LOVE INK!”)—with “my friend the Duchess of Amalfi,” and then goes off to spatter the besieging Duke of Bogshott and his white-uniformed army. Serving largely as an excuse for the illustrator to wield pen and brush ever more ferociously across a series of spreads, this free-associative plotline culminates with an invitation to attend the wedding of the duke and duchess as “Best Dot” (“I was so excited I made a mess on her carpet”) and a quick return home: “And here I am, ready to work for you again—dot dot dot.” As a clever riff on the internet, this doesn’t hold a pixel to Randi Zuckerberg and Joel Berger’s Dot. (2013) or Goodnight iPad by “Ann Droid” (2011), and the illustrator’s whacked-out mite isn’t going to take young readers on the sort of imagination-stretching artistic rides that Peter Reynolds’ The Dot (2003) or Hervé Tullet’s Press Here (2011) offer. But it does at least dispense exuberantly unrestrained permission to paint outside the lines.

The artist’s fans might key in, but most young readers will be left in the dark. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-56792-520-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Godine

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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FAIRY HANDBOOK

“Do fairies exist? The answer is a definite, energetic, resounding and unquestionable Yes.” Suggesting that anyone who has ever felt inexplicably grumpy, happy, scatterbrained, loving or giggly has been influenced by a particular kind of fairy, Carretero proceeds to catalog fairy types, habitats (country fairies have “hot pollen for breakfast” and do “complicated yoga exercises”) and yearly celebrations. An album at the end provides six pages of fairy types (kissy-kissy, bubbly, brainy—in glasses, natch—etc.), and the book concludes with a few fairy activities. Showing a fondness for bright flowers and checkerboard patterns, she illustrates the tour with luminous watercolor scenes featuring gatherings of wide-eyed winged girls (all fairies being “half girl and half insect”) with extra-long pipestem limbs flitting gracefully about a range of urban and rural settings. Next to Sally Gardner’s more clever and comprehensive Fairy Catalogue (2001) this comes off as sweet fare, but thin—and the single-page multicultural fairy gallery includes some stereotyping, with a German fairy identified by the sausage at the end of her wand and an omnibus “Oriental” fairy next to others from specific countries. Like its diminutive subjects, easy to miss. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-84-937814-9-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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