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From the Best Babysitters Ever series , Vol. 2

This smart, humorous tale should inspire girls to dream big, experiment, and problem-solve through challenges.

In this follow-up to Best Babysitters Ever (2019), Malia, Bree, and Dot need money to go see their favorite pop star in concert. Problem is, these middle schoolers don’t have time to increase their babysitting service hours to earn it.

Malia is forced into an internship with her evil older sister and an even more demanding boss. Bree has just adopted a ferocious cat that she has to watch at all times to prevent it from destroying the entire house. Dot has to get ready for the big science fair. To solve their concert fundraising problem, Malia comes up with the idea to subcontract to “satellite” sitters who can babysit in their place while paying them a percentage. After training their new recruits, the girls soon realize it’s more complicated than they imagined. With third-person perspective shifting chapter by chapter, the girls struggle with their responsibilities while slowly regretting their decision as they discover that the satellite sitters threaten to replace their bosses in the hearts of their charges. With lessons smoothly woven into the storytelling—Bree’s cat’s psychotherapist has advice that applies amazingly well to humans, for instance—the narrative neatly balances humor and wisdom. The book’s cover shows Malia to be black, Dot to be white, and Bree to have light brown skin and long, dark hair.

This smart, humorous tale should inspire girls to dream big, experiment, and problem-solve through challenges. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85090-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Cinematic, over-the-top decadence, a tense race against time, and lessons on what’s truly valuable.

A reward of $5,000,000 almost ruins everything for two seventh graders.

On a class trip to New York City, Felix and Benji find a wallet belonging to social media billionaire Laura Friendly. Benji, a well-off, chaotic kid with learning disabilities, swipes $20 from the wallet before they send it back to its owner. Felix, a poor, shy, rule-follower, reluctantly consents. So when Laura Friendly herself arrives to give them a reward for the returned wallet, she’s annoyed. To teach her larcenous helpers a lesson, Laura offers them a deal: a $20,000 college scholarship or slightly over $5 million cash—but with strings attached. The boys must spend all the money in 30 days, with legal stipulations preventing them from giving anything away, investing, or telling anyone about it. The glorious windfall quickly grows to become a chore and then a torment as the boys appear increasingly selfish and irresponsible to the adults in their lives. They rent luxury cars, hire a (wonderful) philosophy undergrad as a chauffeur, take their families to Disney World, and spend thousands on in-app game purchases. Yet, surrounded by hedonistically described piles of loot and filthy lucre, the boys long for simpler fundamentals. The absorbing spending spree reads like a fun family film, gleefully stuffed with the very opulence it warns against. Major characters are White.

Cinematic, over-the-top decadence, a tense race against time, and lessons on what’s truly valuable. (mathematical explanations) (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-17525-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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A solid debut: fluent, funny and eminently sequel-worthy.

Inventively tweaking a popular premise, Jensen pits two Incredibles-style families with superpowers against each other—until a new challenge rises to unite them.

The Johnsons invariably spit at the mere mention of their hated rivals, the Baileys. Likewise, all Baileys habitually shake their fists when referring to the Johnsons. Having long looked forward to getting a superpower so that he too can battle his clan’s nemeses, Rafter Bailey is devastated when, instead of being able to fly or something else cool, he acquires the “power” to strike a match on soft polyester. But when hated classmate Juanita Johnson turns up newly endowed with a similarly bogus power and, against all family tradition, they compare notes, it becomes clear that something fishy is going on. Both families regard themselves as the heroes and their rivals as the villains. Someone has been inciting them to fight each other. Worse yet, that someone has apparently developed a device that turns real superpowers into silly ones. Teaching themselves on the fly how to get past their prejudice and work together, Rafter, his little brother, Benny, and Juanita follow a well-laid-out chain of clues and deductions to the climactic discovery of a third, genuinely nefarious family, the Joneses, and a fiendishly clever scheme to dispose of all the Baileys and Johnsons at once. Can they carry the day?

A solid debut: fluent, funny and eminently sequel-worthy. (Adventure. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 21, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-220961-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 1, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2013

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