Lesson learned: Read for fun, not for competition.

READ REVIEW

KELSEY GREEN, READING QUEEN

From the Franklin School Friends series , Vol. 1

Can a third-grader like to read too much?

Principal Boone throws down the gauntlet: He will shave his beard if the students at Franklin School read 2,000 books in a month. Kelsey Green is excited. After all, she is the best reader in her class. Kelsey doesn’t care if the winning class wins a pizza party or if the principal shaves his beard or kisses a pig, but she does care if she beats classmate Simon Ellis, therefore securing her name on a plaque. Kelsey’s competitive nature exposes the dark side to such contests: She figures out that short books (poetry, Junie B. Jones, etc.) will move her closer to her goal, even though they are not the books she usually reads. She assumes that Simon is cheating and sets off to prove it. She begins to dread family events since they take time away from reading for the contest. But Cody, a boy in her class, is not reading. Kelsey finally discovers what is really important when she helps him learn to read. Though Kelsey is borderline unlikable for most of the contest, Mills allows for redemption when Kelsey realizes that Simon is not cheating and that Cody has a lot to offer the class. Sprinkled with titles even new readers will likely recognize, this new series shows a lot of promise.

Lesson learned: Read for fun, not for competition. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-37485-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Cool beans indeed.

THE COOL BEAN

A supposed “has-bean” shows that coolness has more to do with deeds than demeanor.

Offering further moral instruction in this leguminous cousin to The Bad Seed (2017) and The Good Egg (2019), Oswald portrays three beans—each a different species but all sporting boss shades, fly threads, and that requisite air of nonchalance—bringing the cool to streets, hallways, playgrounds, and Leguma Beach. Meanwhile, a fourth (a scraggly-haired chickpea), whose efforts to echo the look and the ’tude have fallen flat, takes on the role of nerdy narrator to recall “olden days” when they all hung out in the same pod. Still, despite rolling separate ways (nobody’s fault: “That’s just how it is sometimes. You spend less time together, even though you’re not totally sure why”), when the uncool bean drops a lunch tray, skins a kid knee on the playground, or just needs a hint in class, one of the others is always on the scene toot suite. No biggie. And passing those casual acts of kindness forward? “Now that’s cool.” John’s good-hearted text makes some hay with the bean puns while Oswald’s pipe-stemmed limbs, googly eyes, and accessories give these anthropomorphic legumes lots of personality. As a fava to young audiences, pair with Jamie Michalak and Frank Kolar’s Frank and Bean (2019) for a musical combination.

Cool beans indeed. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-295452-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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