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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A fast and funny alternative to the Wimpy Kid.

JAKE THE FAKE KEEPS IT REAL

From the Jake the Fake series , Vol. 1

Black sixth-grader Jake Liston can only play one song on the piano. He can’t read music very well, and he can’t improvise. So how did Jake get accepted to the Music and Art Academy? He faked it.

Alongside an eclectic group of academy classmates, and with advice from his best friend, Jake tries to fit in at a school where things like garbage sculpting and writing art reviews of bird poop splatter are the norm. All is well until Jake discovers that the end-of-the-semester talent show is only two weeks away, and Jake is short one very important thing…talent. Or is he? It’s up to Jake to either find the talent that lies within or embarrass himself in front of the entire school. Light and humorous, with Knight’s illustrations adding to the fun, Jake’s story will likely appeal to many middle-grade readers, especially those who might otherwise be reluctant to pick up a book. While the artsy antics may be over-the-top at times, this is a story about something that most preteens can relate to: the struggle to find your authentic self. And in a world filled with books about wanting to fit in with the athletically gifted supercliques, this novel unabashedly celebrates the artsy crowd in all of its quirky, creative glory.

A fast and funny alternative to the Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-52351-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Nellie Bly’s contemporary namesake does her proud.

THE NEWSPAPER CLUB

From the Newspaper Club series , Vol. 1

Eleven-year-old Nellie’s investigative reporting leads her to solve a mystery, start a newspaper, and learn key lessons about growing up.

Nellie’s voice is frank and often funny—and always full of information about newspapers. She tells readers of the first meeting of her newspaper club and then says, “But maybe I’m burying the lede…what Dad calls it when a reporter puts the most interesting part…in the middle or toward the end.” (This and other journalism vocabulary is formally defined in a closing glossary.) She backtracks to earlier that summer, when she and her mother were newly moved into a house next to her mother’s best friend in rural Bear Creek, Maine. Nellie explains that the newspaper that employed both of her parents in “the city” had folded soon after her father left for business in Asia. When Bear Creek Park gets closed due to mysterious, petty crimes, Nellie feels compelled to investigate. She feels closest to her dad when on the park’s swings, and she is more comfortable interviewing adults than befriending peers. Getting to know a plethora of characters through Nellie’s eyes is as much fun as watching Nellie blossom. Although astute readers will have guessed the park’s vandalizers, they are rewarded by observing Nellie’s fact-checking process. A late revelation about Nellie’s father does not significantly detract from this fully realized story of a young girl adjusting admirably to new circumstances. Nellie and her mother present white; secondary characters are diverse.

Nellie Bly’s contemporary namesake does her proud. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7624-9685-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Running Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more