Beatrice, whose own name is a bit of a L-U-L-U, is totally charming, and the story and artwork are a P-E-R-F-E-C-T M-A-T-C-H.

BEATRICE SPELLS SOME LULUS AND LEARNS TO WRITE A LETTER

With email making the art of letter writing almost obsolete and texting turning spelling into truncated babble, this picture book is a clever and refreshing antidote.

Beatrice likes to make letters—not the mail kind, but the kind that form words—correctly. While she knows her alphabet and can write all the letters, her problem is putting them in the right order. Her grandma Nanny Hannah comes to her rescue and shows her a technique. Voilà, the more Beatrice spells (even words that are L-U-L-Us), the more she learns how words are put together. “That’s my spelling Bea,” says Nanny Hannah. Enthusiastic about her newly found skill, Beatrice launches a spelling campaign, correcting all the misspelled signs in town, but when she tries to start a spelling club, none of the kids are interested. That is, until her dictionary sparks an idea. The next day, when it’s her turn for show and tell, she changes the spelling on the blackboard to show and spell! Her report on her pet T-A-R-A-N-T-U-L-A and its T-E-R-R-A-R-I-U-M home is a huge hit, turning the whole class into spelling bugs. Potter’s quirky illustrations have just the right childlike quality to complement the text, cleverly incorporating amusing details. The ending neatly ties up the storyline with Beatrice writing a real letter, the kind that begins with “Dear Somebody.”

Beatrice, whose own name is a bit of a L-U-L-U, is totally charming, and the story and artwork are a P-E-R-F-E-C-T M-A-T-C-H. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-39904-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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Thank you, Gerald and Piggie. We’ll miss you

THE THANK YOU BOOK

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Piggie is “one lucky pig,” and she’s determined to make sure she thanks “everyone who is important to” her in this, the final Elephant & Piggie book.

Gerald is sure his friend will forget someone—“someone important”—but Piggie assures him, “It will be a THANK-O-RAMA!” Piggie proceeds to thank the Squirrels for their great ideas, Snake for playing ball, and the Pigeon “for never giving up.” Piggie thanks and thanks: “I am a thanking machine!” She thanks character after character, even the Flies (“Any time, dude!”), as Gerald continues to interject that she’ll forget “someone VERY important.” Finally Piggie runs out of thanks, and by this time Gerald is steamed. “I goofed,” Piggie says in itty-bitty type, before lavishing thanks on Gerald. But that’s not whom Piggie forgot to thank! A classic Willems tantrum later, Gerald reveals the “someone important”: “Our reader.” Of course. “We could not be ‘us’ without you,” says Gerald, earnestly looking out from the page, and Piggie chimes in, “You are the best!” As Elephant & Piggie books go, this isn’t one of the strongest, but it is a validating valediction to fans of the two characters, who have won Willems two Geisel Medals and five Honors. Yes, Gerald and Piggie have ushered countless readers into literacy, but as they rightly note, reading is a collaborative act.

Thank you, Gerald and Piggie. We’ll miss you . (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7828-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2016

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Embedded in this heartwarming story of doing the right thing is a deft examination of the pressures of income inequality on...

A BIKE LIKE SERGIO'S

Continuing from their acclaimed Those Shoes (2007), Boelts and Jones entwine conversations on money, motives, and morality.

This second collaboration between author and illustrator is set within an urban multicultural streetscape, where brown-skinned protagonist Ruben wishes for a bike like his friend Sergio’s. He wishes, but Ruben knows too well the pressure his family feels to prioritize the essentials. While Sergio buys a pack of football cards from Sonny’s Grocery, Ruben must buy the bread his mom wants. A familiar lady drops what Ruben believes to be a $1 bill, but picking it up, to his shock, he discovers $100! Is this Ruben’s chance to get himself the bike of his dreams? In a fateful twist, Ruben loses track of the C-note and is sent into a panic. After finally finding it nestled deep in a backpack pocket, he comes to a sense of moral clarity: “I remember how it was for me when that money that was hers—then mine—was gone.” When he returns the bill to her, the lady offers Ruben her blessing, leaving him with double-dipped emotions, “happy and mixed up, full and empty.” Readers will be pleased that there’s no reward for Ruben’s choice of integrity beyond the priceless love and warmth of a family’s care and pride.

Embedded in this heartwarming story of doing the right thing is a deft examination of the pressures of income inequality on children. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6649-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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