If a bit patchwork, the package is still powerful.

THE FIRST FLUTE

WHOWHOAHYAHZO TOHKOHYA

As he has in the past, Bouchard (The Song within My Heart, 2015, etc.) joins talents with a multicultural team, in this case New Zealand–American illustrator Oelze, Kalapuya flautist Jan Michael Looking Wolf, and Dakota translator Goodwill, to present an uplifting tale.

Audiences will quickly become immersed in the combination of storytelling, music, and artwork. Dancing Raven has many skills, but his passion, dancing, is not recognized until Grandfather Cedar shows him the path of love and gifts him a flute. A prologue explains that this telling has been handed down from Looking Wolf's uncle. Their tribal affiliation is not indicated within the book, nor are source notes for other versions of the story provided, so those unfamiliar with Native American folklore and cultures must trust and enjoy the experience as presented. Text appears in English and Dakota, while CD tracks in English, French, and Dakota invite a wide audience. Those who have never heard it will be fascinated by the sound of the Dakota language, which is recorded by an older, gravelly voice that resonates with gravitas (the narrator is not named). Looking Wolf's music is atmospheric and moving. Masterful paintings—lush, vibrant, frequently suffused with sunlight—do not so much extend the text as accompany it, as if selected after the fact rather than crafted for it.

If a bit patchwork, the package is still powerful. (Picture book/folk tale. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-88995-475-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Red Deer Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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SWINDLE

From the Swindle series , Vol. 1

Eleven-year-old Griffin Bing is “the man with the plan.” If something needs doing, Griffin carefully plans a fix and his best friend Ben usually gets roped in as assistant. When the town council ignores his plan for a skate park on the grounds of the soon-to-be demolished Rockford House, Griffin plans a camp-out in the house. While there, he discovers a rare Babe Ruth baseball card. His family’s money worries are suddenly a thing of the past, until unscrupulous collectables dealer S. Wendell Palomino swindles him. Griffin and Ben plan to snatch the card back with a little help. Pet-lover Savannah whispers the blood-thirsty Doberman. Rock-climber “Pitch” takes care of scaling the house. Budding-actor Logan distracts the nosy neighbor. Computer-expert Melissa hacks Palomino’s e-mail and the house alarm. Little goes according to plan, but everything turns out all right in this improbable but fun romp by the prolific and always entertaining Korman. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-439-90344-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2008

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