With an election around the corner, this isn’t a bad way for young readers to view the political arena.

READ REVIEW

HOW NOT TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT

When 12-year-old Aidan Schroeckenbauer saves presidential candidate Bettina Brandon from a falling campaign sign and ends up the “Clarinet Hero,” he’s adopted by the campaign and hits the road.

Aidan brings good publicity, but it becomes a hard road when he endures attacks on his clarinet playing, his baseball prowess and even his age, as reporters say he might actually be older than 12, making him ineligible to play Little League. Even his mother, laid off from the local FreezeStar factory, has been accused of being a spy for a Chinese corporation. Partly a light satire on modern elections, Clark’s tale is mostly a fun romp, lightened by the contentious relationship between Aidan and Governor Brandon’s daughter Emma. Their often-humorous banter keeps the story on track as they become friends and learn to work together to keep the campaign rolling. Names of political figures and Brandon’s Fresh Idea Party are made up, and even the Democratic candidate is said to be a former Democratic vice president, Jack Mathias. (Though being fictional is just as well, since Aidan’s mother calls him an “out-of-touch idiot.”) Humorous dialogue, smart pacing and some dirty politics make for an engaging read.

With an election around the corner, this isn’t a bad way for young readers to view the political arena. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60684-101-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Egmont USA

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Pippi is an inspired creation knit from daydreams.

PIPPI LONGSTOCKING

A fresh delicious fantasy that children will love.

In the character of 9-year-old Pippi Longstocking, who was lucky to have no parents to tell her what to do, is a juvenile Robin Hood with the authority of Mammy Yokum and a Mighty Mouse. Pippi- red headed, in longstockings (one black and one brown), and the strongest girl in the world was the friend of Tommy and Annika. Calmly and ingeniously she put down the enemy forces of the adult world — with a serene efficiency. The teacher was baffled by her logic in pointing out the futility of learning arithmetic; bullies she hoisted on trees; at the circus Pippi rode bareback, walked the tightrope, and wrestled the wrestling champ; cream and sugar flowed (on the floor) when Pippi attended a ladies' coffee party where she revealed "horrid things" with the complacency of Eliza Doolittle. Champion of fun, freedom and fantasy and long happy thoughts,

Pippi is an inspired creation knit from daydreams.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 1950

ISBN: 978-0-14-030957-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1950

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