A funny, satisfying exploration of the thematically rich territory between winning and losing.

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CAMP AVERAGE

DOUBLE FOUL

From the Camp Average series , Vol. 2

A year after Camp Average’s surprise baseball-tournament win, Mack—outraged at hypercompetitive camp director Winston’s wily manipulations—leads another rebellion; the battlefield this time is basketball.

To boost competitive sports, the camp’s now coed, drawing talented athletes in search of opportunities unavailable at local girls’ camps. Frustrated that his makeover hasn’t netted significant wins, Winston announces he’s entered the camp in a prestigious basketball tournament, and the boys’ and girls’ teams will play each other to determine which enters the tournament. Mack likes basketball but resists joining the team until his preferred activities are mysteriously banned. Given proof of foul play (and responding to a request), Mack decides to sabotage Winston’s efforts, recruiting helpers to undermine both basketball teams’ series performances. Planting a rumor that a college scout is watching proves wildly successful: Players abandon teamwork to focus on showcasing their individual prowess. Performance suffers, both teams are dispirited, and after Mack’s role is revealed, he’s shunned. It’s bad when Mack’s plans don’t work, Miles tells him, but “somehow even worse” when they do. Watching the events unfurl in this sequel is rewarding and entertaining. While Winston’s villainy can seem cartoonish, the girls—like the boys—are amiably convincing. Names and descriptions for both imply racial and cultural diversity; Mack seems to be default white. Intergender relations among these middle schoolers are strictly platonic. A final twist forecasts further adventures.

A funny, satisfying exploration of the thematically rich territory between winning and losing. (Fiction. 8-13)

Pub Date: April 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77147-309-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
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  • New York Times Bestseller

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  • National Book Award Winner

  • Newbery Honor Book

BROWN GIRL DREAMING

A multiaward–winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.

Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is “a country caught / / between Black and White.” But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father’s people in Ohio and her mother’s people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah’s Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe’s Stevie and Langston Hughes’ poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that “[W]ords are my brilliance.” Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25251-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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