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From the Audrey L and Audrey W series , Vol. 1

Funny and engaging.

A second grader navigates the ups and downs of a new friendship.

So far, second grade isn’t living up to Audrey Locke’s high expectations. When the odd number of kids pair up, she’s the extra one. Longing to be best at something, Audrey—class Welcome Ambassador—seizes her opportunity when Ms. Fincastle announces they’ll be joined by a new student whose favorite snack is chocolate-covered crickets. Although Audrey drops the welcome cake she’s made, the new girl, Audrey Waters, is gracious about the mishap, and friendship blossoms. Besides their names, the girls share a liking for winged unicorns and purple nail polish. But as Audrey W excels at music, spelling, and more, Audrey L begins to feel jealous, especially after the class votes for Audrey W’s choice to name the classroom’s hermit crab. With Audrey W best at so much, Audrey L’s determined to prove herself best at baking. Then their baking-focused weekend play date goes awry, and Audrey L lets out all her worries and anger. Mann’s droll illustrations capture the full range of her changing emotions and convey character diversity: Ms. Fincastle and several students have darker skin than both brown-haired Audrey L (presumed White) and black-haired Audrey W (who has olive skin on the full-color cover). The sophisticated vocabulary and syntax might be a stretch for young readers. If mature, accomplished Audrey W is fairly thinly developed in this first series outing, Audrey L’s struggles to establish herself within the chaotic social hierarchies of elementary school are endearingly authentic.

Funny and engaging. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4521-8394-7

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists.

How to raise money for a coveted poster: put your friends to work!

John, founder of the FUBU fashion line and a Shark Tank venture capitalist, offers a self-referential blueprint for financial success. Having only half of the $10 he needs for a Minka J poster, Daymond forks over $1 to buy a plain T-shirt, paints a picture of the pop star on it, sells it for $5, and uses all of his cash to buy nine more shirts. Then he recruits three friends to decorate them with his design and help sell them for an unspecified amount (from a conveniently free and empty street-fair booth) until they’re gone. The enterprising entrepreneur reimburses himself for the shirts and splits the remaining proceeds, which leaves him with enough for that poster as well as a “brand-new business book,” while his friends express other fiscal strategies: saving their share, spending it all on new art supplies, or donating part and buying a (math) book with the rest. (In a closing summation, the author also suggests investing in stocks, bonds, or cryptocurrency.) Though Miles cranks up the visual energy in her sparsely detailed illustrations by incorporating bright colors and lots of greenbacks, the actual advice feels a bit vague. Daymond is Black; most of the cast are people of color. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-56727-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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