A well-illustrated book for youngsters that will reinforce ecologically friendly household habits and hopefully inspire new...

Stewie BOOM! and Princess Penelope


The third installment in Bronstein’s (Stewie BOOM! Starts School, 2015, etc.) engaging children’s book series focuses on the precocious titular protagonist and his family “going green.”

Stewie and his sister, Princess Penelope, like to do experiments with food, household products, and whatever else they can get their hands on. When they mix up a “big batch of goop” that stinks really bad, they toss it out the window and forget about it. The next morning, though, they get in trouble when their parents find that the yard has turned brown and the dogs green. After Stewie tells his parents about the goop, which they made from things from the kitchen, such as fake-cheese chips, window cleaner, and dog shampoo, he and his sister learn how many products in their home contain potentially dangerous chemicals. Stewie comes up with a great idea: to “hunt down all the yucky things in the house” and replace them with ecologically friendly alternatives. Thus begins a revelatory experience as the kids examine the many products in their home. The narrative doesn’t offer up anything new or innovative in its ideas to help children go green; instead, it includes relatively simplistic notions, such as turning off lights when leaving a room, taking shorter showers, and composting. Still, the book will undoubtedly kick-start conversations with children about environmental stewardship and, at the very least, compel them to look at the world around them in a different light. It’s obviously lovingly produced, and its full-color illustrations are exceptional. Overall, this latest installment in Bronstein’s Stewie BOOM! saga proves to be an “eweey, gooey” beginner’s guide to going green.

A well-illustrated book for youngsters that will reinforce ecologically friendly household habits and hopefully inspire new ones.

Pub Date: July 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9963074-8-2

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Nothing But The Truth Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2016

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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Positively refreshing.

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A black girl helps her dad learn how to give her the perfect hairstyle for a very special day.

Zuri’s voluminous head of hair “has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way.” She is pictured asleep with a large Afro framing her face. She is proud of her hair, which she sometimes wears in braids with beads like a princess and other times in pigtail puffs. But today is a special day. She knows Daddy is “worn-out” and probably needs a break, so she lets him sleep in while she looks up hairstyles on a tablet. When Daddy wakes and offers to help, he tries a series of hairstyles that just don’t work. Finally, Zuri grabs some hair supplies and shows him a tutorial. “Watching carefully… / Daddy combed, / parted, oiled, and twisted. / He nailed it!” Zuri is lovely and happy with her freshly done hairstyle, and when Mommy arrives to their “Welcome Home” sign, she loves Zuri’s look too. The digital illustrations feature details that feel just right: Zuri’s thick, textured hair, Daddy’s locs and tattoo, and dark-skinned Mom’s bright headwrap. While it’s unclear where Mommy is returning from (she is dressed casually and has a rolling black suitcase), this authentic depiction of a loving and whole black family broadens the scope of representation.

Positively refreshing. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55336-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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