An interesting, mysterious story with memorable illustrations.

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THE FERRYLAND VISITOR

A MYSTERIOUS TALE

This slightly spooky tale, based on a true story, recalls a mysterious visitor to the Squires family, who were living in a lighthouse in Newfoundland in the 1970s.

Sisters Esther and Meranda move into the old lighthouse with their mother and artist father in the fall; the family is white. The lighthouse, with no running water and minimal heating, is located 2 miles from the village of Ferryland. One night just before Halloween, an older white man unexpectedly knocks on the door of the lighthouse, saying that the family dog asked him to come in. The old-timer tells the family all about his past life in Ferryland and his years as the village policeman. The next day, Esther and her father learn that this policeman has been dead for 20 years. By the next summer, the family is settled in and the mother has opened a pottery shop. There they meet the visiting daughter of the policeman, who tells them that her father always told people, “Your dog asked me to come in.” The narrative, lengthy for the format, is told in the authoritative, compelling style of a campfire ghost story, with plenty of geographical references and atmospheric details. The story is illustrated with vintage photographs of family members and the area along with beautiful oil paintings by Squires, the artist father of the family.

An interesting, mysterious story with memorable illustrations. (author’s note, publisher’s note) (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-927917-05-3

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Running the Goat

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the...

CHARLIE BUMPERS VS. THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR

From the Charlie Bumpers series , Vol. 1

Charlie Bumpers is doomed. The one teacher he never wanted in the whole school turns out to be his fourth-grade teacher.

Charlie recalls third grade, when he accidentally hit the scariest teacher in the whole school with his sneaker. “I know all about you, Charlie Bumpers,” she says menacingly on the first day of fourth grade. Now, in addition to all the hardships of starting school, he has gotten off on the wrong foot with her. Charlie’s dry and dramatic narrative voice clearly reveals the inner life of a 9-year-old—the glass is always half empty, especially in light of a series of well-intentioned events gone awry. It’s quite a litany: “Hitting Mrs. Burke in the head with the sneaker. The messy desk. The swinging on the door. The toilet paper. And now this—the shoe on the roof.” Harley has teamed once again with illustrator Gustavson (Lost and Found, 2012) to create a real-life world in which a likable kid must face the everyday terrors of childhood: enormous bullies, looming teachers and thick gym coaches with huge pointing fingers. Into this series opener, Harley magically weaves the simple lesson that people, even teachers, can surprise you.

Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the sarcasm of Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-732-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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