An enjoyable and diverse story highlighting friendship, entrepreneurship, and perseverance.

FACE THE MUSIC

From the Startup Squad series , Vol. 2

The Startup Squad discovers that selling merch for their favorite rock band is more complicated than it seems.

Harriet Nguyen lives life in the fast lane. She loves creating spectacular outfits every day, adores reptiles, and is the youngest of four siblings. She has three older brothers—Sam, Joe, and Larry—who are also in a band together called the Radical Skinks, named after their favorite reptile. When Harriet accidentally breaks Larry’s guitar and dooms the band, her friends quickly come up with a scheme to keep the band together and help them compete in Battle of the Bands. Together, the four middle schoolers come up with the idea of selling Radical Skinks T-shirts at a concert to raise money for a new guitar. Though the idea seems simple at first, the girls quickly realize they have underestimated how much effort and teamwork it will take to reach their goal, especially with Harriet’s act-first-think-later attitude, which results in disastrous mishaps. Filled with flawed characters and moments of growth, including lessons on trial and error, practicing customer service, and learning from mistakes, this drama-filled, fast-paced, entertaining read places friendship and hard work at its heart. The characters are cued as the following: Harriet and her family are Vietnamese, Amelia is white, Didi is South Asian, and Resa (the focus of series opener The Startup Squad, 2019) is Afro-Latinx. Practical tips on entrepreneurship and a Q&A with a kid entrepreneur appear in the backmatter.

An enjoyable and diverse story highlighting friendship, entrepreneurship, and perseverance. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-18045-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A road trip to remember.

CLEAN GETAWAY

Using the Negro Travelers’ Green Book and her hidden past as a road map, a grandma takes her grandson on a cross country journey.

When G’ma pulls up to William “Scoob” Lamar’s house in a brand-new Winnebago and invites him on an adventure, Scoob leaves a note for his dad and jumps in. Despite not knowing where they are going, or why G’ma has traded in her Mini Cooper and house for the RV, Scoob is a willing wingman because he wants to save spring break and escape his strict single dad for a few days. Readers will appreciate the bond between Scoob and G’ma; Stone balances fun with emotion for a compelling read. After they cross from Georgia to Alabama and G’ma keeps avoiding Dad’s calls, Scoob begins to get suspicious. When G’ma lets him see the contents of her once off-limits treasure box, which includes a 1963 edition of the Travelers’ Green Book, Scoob understands this trip means much more than even he imagined. The complex role race plays in their family and on this trip—Scoob is mixed-race and presents black, and G’ma is white—is explored in a meaningful way that provides details about a period in time as well as present-day realities. Rich in history, Stone’s middle-grade debut entertains and informs young readers. The subdued ending may frustrate, but the journey, punctuated by Anyabwile’s grayscale cartoons, is well worth it.

A road trip to remember. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9297-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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