This pseudo-journal makes a clever invitation to a possible lifetime passion.

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KIRBY'S JOURNAL

BACKYARD BUTTERFLY MAGIC

Eleven-year-old Kirby records close observations of butterflies made in her grandparents' Charleston, South Carolina, backyard during a summer vacation that is as good as a safari.

Kirby’s grandparents have saved their butterfly-garden project for Kirby’s three-month visit. Together, they stock it with appropriate host plants and nectar flowers. At first there seem to be no results. Kirby practices with her new camera; her grandmother helps. They visit other likely habitats and a nearby butterfly garden. When caterpillars appear, Kirby’s ready. For the rest of the summer, Kirby and her friends observe and photograph the butterflies and occasional other insects they find in the backyard. Her grandparents provide background, beginning with body parts and going on through classification, identification, the food web, and survival strategies. Kirby makes notes on her oversized journal pages and adds color photographs. She documents the complete metamorphosis of a Gulf fritillary, as well as a monarch emerging from its chrysalis. A short entry about habitat conservation concludes the instructive portion of her journal, but a few more entries reveal this eager observer’s continued enthusiasm. This gentle story is the framework for a great deal of information, some of which, Kirby says, she learned in school, but is understandable in the context of her own explorations.

This pseudo-journal makes a clever invitation to a possible lifetime passion. (index) (Informational picture book. 9-12)

Pub Date: June 30, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61117-553-0

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Univ. of South Carolina

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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Korman’s fans will be right at home with this stand-alone novel.

SLACKER

From the Slacker series , Vol. 1

What could get the “Leonardo da Vinci of slackers” off his gaming couch?

Thirteen-year-old Cameron Boxer’s worked hard on his “lifestyle”: minimal effort at school and maximum time perfecting his gaming skills. His goal? Winning the Rule the World tournament with one of his two best friends, technical genius Pavel or loyal Chuck…but they have to avoid Evil McKillPeople, a Canadian gamer who for some reason has it in for Cam. Then the Great Ziti Inferno (Cam was too busy playing to take the ziti out of the oven as instructed) causes Cam’s parents to insist he unplug and do something with his life. The friends cook up a fake club, the Positive Action Group. They make Cam president and put a page on the school’s website, attracting the attention of do-gooder Daphne, who wants to save a beaver, class-president candidate Jordan, who needs a leg up in the election, along with reprobates and jocks who need to do community service. Suddenly the fake club is real, doing actual good, and sucking up valuable game time; that was never the plan! Prolific Korman turns in another group caper that would fit easily in his Swindle series. Cam’s borderline unlikable, and a few in the supporting cast don’t act like real people; but the tale, narrated by Cam and several others, is a pleasant diversion, though it’s not notable for its diversity.

Korman’s fans will be right at home with this stand-alone novel. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-82315-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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Creative, comedic, and carrot-loads of fun.

A IS FOR ANOTHER RABBIT

An obsessed narrator creates an alphabet book overrun with rabbits, much to the chagrin of an owl who wants to create a “proper, respectable” alphabet book.

The picture book begins, “A is for A rabbit,” an illustration of a large brown rabbit taking up most of the recto. The owl protagonist—presumably the co-creator of the book—points out that “rabbit” begins with “R.” “Yes, but “a rabbit” starts with A,” says the narrator, before moving on to “B is for bunny,” which, as the owl points out, is just another name for rabbit. Despite the owl’s mounting frustration, the narrator genially narrates several rabbits into existence on almost every single page, rendered with such variety that readers will find their proliferation endlessly amusing. The letter D, for instance, introduces readers to “delightful, dynamic, daredevil RABBITS!” (a herd of biker rabbits), and although the narrator says “E is for Elephant” (which momentarily satisfies the owl), the image depicts several rabbits poorly disguised as an elephant. Much to the owl’s chagrin and, ultimately, exhaustion, the narrator grows more and more creative in their presentation of their favorite animal as the picture book proceeds down a rabbit hole of…well, rabbits! Batsel’s debut picture book for readers already familiar with the English alphabet is funny and highly entertaining. The whimsical narrative and the colorful images make this an excellent elementary-age read-aloud.

Creative, comedic, and carrot-loads of fun. (Picture book. 4-8)/p>)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2950-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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A waggish tale with a serious (and timely) theme.

KATT VS. DOGG

An age-old rivalry is reluctantly put aside when two young vacationers are lost in the wilderness.

Anthropomorphic—in body if definitely not behavior—Dogg Scout Oscar and pampered Molly Hissleton stray from their separate camps, meet by chance in a trackless magic forest, and almost immediately recognize that their only chance of survival, distasteful as the notion may be, lies in calling a truce. Patterson and Grabenstein really work the notion here that cooperation is better than prejudice founded on ignorance and habit, interspersing explicit exchanges on the topic while casting the squabbling pair with complementary abilities that come out as they face challenges ranging from finding food to escaping such predators as a mountain lion and a pack of vicious “weaselboars.” By the time they cross a wide river (on a raft steered by “Old Jim,” an otter whose homespun utterances are generally cribbed from Mark Twain—an uneasy reference) back to civilization, the two are BFFs. But can that friendship survive the return, with all the social and familial pressures to resume the old enmity? A climactic cage-match–style confrontation before a worked-up multispecies audience provides the answer. In the illustrations (not seen in finished form) López plops wide-eyed animal heads atop clothed, more or less human forms and adds dialogue balloons for punchlines.

A waggish tale with a serious (and timely) theme. (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-41156-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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