Cheeky Lola is a well-balanced combination of exuberance and naïve vulnerability that charms and entertains.

LAST-BUT-NOT-LEAST LOLA AND A KNOT THE SIZE OF TEXAS

From the Last-But-Not-Least Lola series , Vol. 4

Hilarious Lola has a lot of problems, but the very biggest one—growing all the time—is the immense knot of snarled hair at the back of her head. What is a girl to do?

Lola’s strategy is to ignore it if at all possible. Getting that knot out is going to hurt. The very thought of it makes her wince (worry and squint at the same time). The trouble is her hair is naturally curly, and if it doesn’t get properly brushed, as when her parents are too busy, then knots g-r-o-w. Another thing about Lola, who is white and Jewish but shares an elementary school class with a multicultural group, is that she likes to be kind, so she invites two of her second-grade classmates to drop their dogs off at her house so she can watch them over the busy Thanksgiving holiday. Even she knows that second dog is going to be a problem. Being kind also makes it very hard to tell one of her two competing grandmothers that her pumpkin pie tastes like “licking a candle.” Lola’s distinct, effervescent first-person narration includes the occasional definition—“Deluxe means you wish you had one”—and other funny thoughts that early grade school readers (and grown-ups) will laugh at. Hoppe’s numerous charming illustrations enrich the presentation.

Cheeky Lola is a well-balanced combination of exuberance and naïve vulnerability that charms and entertains. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62979-324-5

Page Count: 168

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for...

DOG DAYS

From the Carver Chronicles series , Vol. 1

A gentle voice and familiar pitfalls characterize this tale of a boy navigating the risky road to responsibility. 

Gavin is new to his neighborhood and Carver Elementary. He likes his new friend, Richard, and has a typically contentious relationship with his older sister, Danielle. When Gavin’s desire to impress Richard sets off a disastrous chain of events, the boy struggles to evade responsibility for his actions. “After all, it isn’t his fault that Danielle’s snow globe got broken. Sure, he shouldn’t have been in her room—but then, she shouldn’t be keeping candy in her room to tempt him. Anybody would be tempted. Anybody!” opines Gavin once he learns the punishment for his crime. While Gavin has a charming Everyboy quality, and his aversion to Aunt Myrtle’s yapping little dog rings true, little about Gavin distinguishes him from other trouble-prone protagonists. He is, regrettably, forgettable. Coretta Scott King Honor winner English (Francie, 1999) is a teacher whose storytelling usually benefits from her day job. Unfortunately, the pizzazz of classroom chaos is largely absent from this series opener.

This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for subsequent volumes. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-97044-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Patchy work, both visually and teleologically.

YOU'RE HERE FOR A REASON

The sultana of high-fructose sentimentality reminds readers that they really are all that.

Despite the title, we’re actually here for a couple of reasons. In fulsome if vague language Tillman embeds one message, that acts of kindness “may triple for days… / or set things in motion in different ways,” in a conceptually separate proposition that she summarizes thus: “perhaps you forgot— / a piece of the world that is precious and dear / would surely be missing if you weren’t here.” Her illustrations elaborate on both themes in equally abstract terms: a lad releases a red kite that ends up a sled for fox kits, while its ribbons add decorative touches to bird nests and a moose before finally being vigorously twirled by a girl and (startlingly) a pair of rearing tigers. Without transition the focus then shifts as the kite is abruptly replaced by a red ball. Both embodied metaphors, plus children and animals, gather at the end for a closing circle dance. The illustrator lavishes attention throughout on figures of children and wild animals, which are depicted with such microscopically precise realism that every fine hair and feather is visible, but she then floats them slightly above hazy, generic backdrops. The overall design likewise has a slapdash feel, as some spreads look relatively crowded with verses while others bear only a single line or phrase.

Patchy work, both visually and teleologically. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05626-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more