Another highly entertaining and enthusiastic outing in a series that’s perfect for readers new to chapter books and as a...

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YOU'RE IN TROUBLE

From the Jasper John Dooley series , Vol. 4

Jasper John Dooley is being pretty Bad, but he’s not entirely to blame.

After another poor, distracted performance on the soccer field (because Jasper, in his yellow-and-black uniform, feels like a bee), his dad sends him to buy an apple juice, but he accidentally ends up with a caffeine-laden energy drink—a Bad drink. A few swallows leave him unable to sit still, and he’s awake for much of the night. To make matters worse, he hides the rest of the interesting drink in the refrigerator and sneaks some before school a couple of times. The consequences are alarming and eventually very embarrassing—but, of course, hilarious. Ori, his sensible, ever caring best friend, tries to intervene with a prescription for good health—celery “pills”—but Jasper chokes the dreaded vegetable down with more Bad drink. Brief text and ample white space make the short chapters easy to read; Jasper’s very normal but always humorous experiences make the reading fun. Even an unexpected trip to the emergency room for stitches takes on a flavor of silliness when Jasper concludes to a teammate, “They pay you for it. They pay you in suckers.” Clanton’s simple, lively illustrations match nicely with the narrative.

Another highly entertaining and enthusiastic outing in a series that’s perfect for readers new to chapter books and as a captivating read-aloud. (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-55453-808-9

Page Count: 124

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

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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In contrast to the carbs and desserts pictured, though sweet, this is unlikely to stick with readers.

BAGEL IN LOVE

A romance for carb (and pun!) lovers who dance to their own drummers and don’t give up on their dreams.

Bagel is a guy who loves to dance; when he’s tapping and twirling, he doesn’t feel plain. The problem is, he can’t find a partner for the Cherry Jubilee Dance Contest. Poppy says his steps are half-baked. Pretzel, “who was at the spa getting a salt rub…told him his moves didn’t cut the mustard.” He strikes out in Sweet City, too, with Croissant, Doughnut, and Cake. But just when he’s given up, he hears the music from the contest and can’t help moving his feet. And an echoing tap comes back to him. Could it be a partner at last? Yep, and she just happens to smell sweet and have frosting piled high. Bagel and Cupcake crush the contest, but winning the trophy? That “was just icing on the cake,” as the final sentence reads, the two standing proudly with a blue ribbon and trophy, hearts filling the space above and between them. Dardik’s digital illustrations are pastel confections. Sometimes just the characters’ heads are the treats, and other times the whole body is the foodstuff, with tiny arms and legs added on. Even the buildings are like something from “Hansel and Gretel.” However, this pun-filled narrative is just one of many of its ilk, good for a few yuks but without much staying power.

In contrast to the carbs and desserts pictured, though sweet, this is unlikely to stick with readers. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2239-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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