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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Certain to be popular with teachers, this is also certain to improve any child’s understanding.

THAT'S A POSSIBILITY!

A BOOK ABOUT WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN

Odds are, Goldstone’s latest math title will provide readers with both the vocabulary and the practice to make them likely experts at determining probability.

Certain, likely, (im)possible, (im)probable, odds: These are the words that Goldstone focuses on, highlighting them in the text, defining them and providing well-chosen, kid-friendly photos and digital illustrations so they can put them to use. Six lines of birds on electrical wires prompt the question: “If one of these birds flies away, what color will it probably be? What colors are possible, but not likely? What colors are impossible?” From gumball and prize machines to coin tosses, cards and dice, Goldstone leaves no stone unturned. His scenario involving game spinners is especially good—players have to choose between two spinners, and spots on the game board that say “Go back to START” and “Jump to FINISH” have to be taken into consideration. The book finishes with a look at permutations. A stuffed bear with 10 shirts and 10 pairs of pants has a total of 100 different combinations to choose among (and they are all shown!). A race with two racers has two possible results, but add a third entrant, and the possibilities go up to six. Backmatter provides readers with a few probability-related activities, an author’s note and a few notes on answers to the questions in the text.

Certain to be popular with teachers, this is also certain to improve any child’s understanding. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: June 11, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8050-8998-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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This personal look at a popular subject is sure to please. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

MONSTER HUNT

EXPLORING MYSTERIOUS CREATURES WITH JIM ARNOSKY

Stating that “[t]oday's mystery could be tomorrow's science,” a veteran wildlife observer ponders the existence of such legendary creatures as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster.

Arnosky’s introduction provides a scientific name for the search for animals whose existence is unproven—cryptozoology. In brief chapters, he discusses giant sharks called charcharodon, thought to be extinct; giant squids or kraken, only recently discovered in the ocean depths; Bigfoot and similar creatures that might lurk in North American forests; and the Loch Ness monster, a possible plesiosaur still surviving in Scotland. But the meat of this latest title is his description of an expedition with his wife and three grandsons to search the depths of Lake Champlain for “Champ,” a plesiosaurlike reptile possibly living in the waters between New York and Vermont. Realistic paintings spread across the gutters, bounded with a totemlike border made up of further relevant images in natural colors. For example, alongside an illustration of a silverback gorilla (thought to be imaginary until the 19th century), the border depicts a coelacanth and a Komodo dragon. Double-page spreads indicate changing sections. Straddling the line between acceptance and disbelief, the naturalist leaves the question of Champ’s existence open for readers, reminding them that when science solves one mystery, another may appear.  

This personal look at a popular subject is sure to please. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4231-3028-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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