A gently whimsical rumination about compromise and friendship.

READ REVIEW

KONDO & KEZUMI REACH BELL BOTTOM

From the Kondo & Kezumi series , Vol. 2

Stormy waters await two friends on the high seas.

In this follow-up to Kondo & Kezumi Visit Giant Island (2020), best pals Kondo and Kezumi are back in their tiny boat, sailing toward new adventures. Kondo wants to stick with their plans to visit Spaghetti Island, but Kezumi is easily distracted by nearby wonders. Her curiosity piqued, she longs to follow schools of carrot-colored, long-eared sea jumpers bounding out of the water and to explore a mysterious rusty ship. Kondo, however, is frustrated by Kezumi’s constant diversions, wishing to stay on course. When the duo shipwrecks on a strange new island, their tensions come to a head, and each stomps off angrily in opposite directions. Kezumi finds an immense broken warning bell and wants to fix it but cannot move it without Kondo’s help; will they be able to reconcile and work together? Adhering to stereotypes, Kondo, the yellow male character, is markedly larger and stockier than female Kezumi, who is orange, frilled, and slight. This quibble aside, Goodner and Tsurumi’s tale offers many alluringly adorable two-page illustrated spreads, with text divided into readably short chapters. The pacing pulls readers along like a swift current, and worldbuilding is playful and unexpected, dialing up the imagination and creating a new dimension for this tried-and-true friendship tale.

A gently whimsical rumination about compromise and friendship. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5473-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after.

RISE OF THE EARTH DRAGON

From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

Drake has been selected by the king to serve as a Dragon Master, quite a change for an 8-year-old farmer boy.

The dragons are a secret, and the reason King Roland has them is a mystery, but what is clear is that the Dragon Stone has identified Drake as one of the rare few children who have a special connection with dragons and the ability to serve as a trainer. Drake’s dragon is a long brown creature with, at first, no particular talents that Drake can identify. He calls the dragon Worm. It isn’t long before Drake begins to realize he has a very strong connection with Worm and can share what seem to be his dragon’s thoughts. After one of the other Dragon Masters decides to illicitly take the dragons outside, disaster strikes. The cave they are passing through collapses, blocking the passageway, and then Worm’s special talent becomes evident. The first of a new series of early chapter books, this entry is sure to attract fans. Brief chapters, large print, lots of action, attractive illustrations in every spread, including a maplike panorama, an enviable protagonist—who wouldn’t want to be a Dragon Master?—all combine to make an entertaining read.

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64624-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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