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

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

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

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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Teachers will certainly find themselves wishing for their own arsenal of supplies to help them with their grading, and...

THE LITTLE RED PEN

Obviously inspired by "The Little Red Hen," this goes beyond the foundation tale's basic moral about work ethic to explore problem solving, teamwork and doing one’s best.

Nighttime at school brings the Little Red Pen out of the drawer to correct papers, usually aided by other common school supplies. But not this time. Too afraid of being broken, worn out, dull, lost or, worst of all, put in the “Pit of No Return” (aka trash), they hide in the drawer despite the Little Red Pen’s insistence that the world will end if the papers do not get corrected. But even with her drive she cannot do it all herself—her efforts send her to the Pit. It takes the ingenuity and cooperation of every desk supply to accomplish her rescue and to get all the papers graded, thereby saving the world. The authors work in lots of clever wordplay that will appeal to adult readers, as will the spicy character of Chincheta, the Mexican pushpin. Stevens’ delightfully expressive desk supplies were created with paint, ink and plenty of real school supplies. Without a doubt, she has captured their true personalities: the buck-toothed stapler, bespectacled scissors and rather empty-headed eraser.

Teachers will certainly find themselves wishing for their own arsenal of supplies to help them with their grading, and students may take a second glance at that innocuous-looking red pen on the teacher’s desk. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 18, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-15-206432-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: April 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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