From the Droid Tales series

In a galaxy far, far away, three robots take a sandy trek.

In the heat of desert planet Tatooine, persnickety C-3PO leads playful R2-D2 and BB-8 across the dunes on an important mission. Along their journey, the trio encounters familiar figures from the Star Wars franchise, including speedy podracers, hooded Jawas, and an enormous, shaggy bantha, and also name-drops other notables such as Gen. Leia and Rey. As in the films, R2 and BB-8 communicate only through beeps and boops; C-3PO carries most of the narrative with his endless fussing about keeping his cohorts on track with their mission and grumbling about the sand, which delights and preoccupies the smaller bots. When the threesome reports back to their ship for duty, uptight C-3PO takes a well-deserved bath while R2 and BB-8 provide gentle comic relief. This graphic offering features large, bright illustrations that stretch over its pages, employing a cheery, eye-catching blue-and-gold palette. Standing out prominently against the sky-blue backgrounds, the generously sized text bubbles are stark white, just perfect for emerging comics readers. The exact purpose of the mission is never explicitly stated, although its importance is often repeated—think Waiting for Godot through a Star Wars lens. Young readers should relate to the experience of receiving vague orders with simultaneous injunctions not to get dirty.

Fun for droid devotees. (Graphic early reader. 5-9)

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-04346-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.


A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...


From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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