Charlie’s fans will be psyched to see that Charlie Bumpers vs. the Squeaking Skull is scheduled for fall 2014.

CHARLIE BUMPERS VS. THE REALLY NICE GNOME

From the Charlie Bumpers series , Vol. 2

Charlie Bumpers knows the role he wants in the fourth-grade class play: Evil Sorcerer Kragon. What does he get? The Nice Gnome. Boogers.

Disappointed and angry, the endearing Charlie goes to battle. Three times, he tries to rid himself of the horrible part with its ridiculous costume. He even rewrites all of his lines to make them funny and cool, like the hero of his favorite TV show, Buck Meson—Detective from Andromeda. But Mrs. Burke is unyielding. This role is worse than having to clean up after his dog, Ginger. As the big night approaches, though, a special touch is added to his costume that makes a difference: Big brother Matt has taken a pair of white sneakers and spray painted them gold. “Awesome shoes,” Matt says. “Awesome gnome.” The last 20 pages quickly give Charlie a golden touch, as he saves the performance in multiple ways. Charlie even gets to ad-lib the Buck Meson quote he worked so hard to include. A storyteller with an uncanny sense of elementary school humor, Harley has penned a worthy sequel to Charlie Bumpers vs. The Teacher of the Year (2013). With illustrator Gustavson, he captures the frustration that comes with just having to make the best of a bad situation.

Charlie’s fans will be psyched to see that Charlie Bumpers vs. the Squeaking Skull is scheduled for fall 2014. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-56145-740-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock”...

THE SINGING ROCK & OTHER BRAND-NEW FAIRY TALES

The theme of persistence (for better or worse) links four tales of magic, trickery, and near disasters.

Lachenmeyer freely borrows familiar folkloric elements, subjecting them to mildly comical twists. In the nearly wordless “Hip Hop Wish,” a frog inadvertently rubs a magic lamp and finds itself saddled with an importunate genie eager to shower it with inappropriate goods and riches. In the title tale, an increasingly annoyed music-hating witch transforms a persistent minstrel into a still-warbling cow, horse, sheep, goat, pig, duck, and rock in succession—then is horrified to catch herself humming a tune. Athesius the sorcerer outwits Warthius, a rival trying to steal his spells via a parrot, by casting silly ones in Ig-pay Atin-lay in the third episode, and in the finale, a painter’s repeated efforts to create a flattering portrait of an ogre king nearly get him thrown into a dungeon…until he suddenly understands what an ogre’s idea of “flattering” might be. The narratives, dialogue, and sound effects leave plenty of elbow room in Blocker’s big, brightly colored panels for the expressive animal and human(ish) figures—most of the latter being light skinned except for the golden genie, the blue ogre, and several people of color in the “Sorcerer’s New Pet.”

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock” music. (Graphic short stories. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59643-750-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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