Lots to like but not for the faint of heart.

CHECK OUT THE LIBRARY WEENIES

AND OTHER WARPED AND CREEPY TALES

From the Weenie Stories series

Beware, the weenies return with 30 new tales to warp your mind and chill your spine.

Lubar returns with the ninth collection in 15 years of short and sometimes shivery stories. There are sci-fi stories, horror stories, fantasy stories, and revenge stories. In a medieval village, one tale’s narrator wants a wizard to turn all of the silver in a house into gold. It’s not the narrator’s house; what possible reason could he have…it’s a monstrous reason. Pamela must stay with her great-aunt while her mother’s on a business trip. Great Aunt Hester collects dolls’ heads. Can Pamela stand to sleep in a room lined with staring bodiless dolls? In the title story, the collection’s longest, a group of bullied book lovers are locked out of their library hangout due to mold. When they create a golem to protect themselves, it turns on them. Help arrives from an unexpected quarter. A few are less engaging than others, but they’re short; just turn the page. Fans will be happy at the variety in these tales, and story notes at the close will be fun to investigate for budding authors. Also at the close: a reading and activity guide for grades four through seven that lists the common core standards it supports. Diversity is achieved largely through naming convention.

Lots to like but not for the faint of heart. (Short stories. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7653-9706-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Starscape/Tom Doherty

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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An inspirational exploration of caring among parent, teacher and child—one of Grimes’ best. (Poetry. 8-12)

WORDS WITH WINGS

In this delightfully spare narrative in verse, Coretta Scott King Award–winning Grimes examines a marriage’s end from the perspective of a child.

Set mostly in the wake of her father’s departure, only-child Gabby reveals with moving clarity in these short first-person poems the hardship she faces relocating with her mother and negotiating the further loss of a good friend while trying to adjust to a new school. Gabby has always been something of a dreamer, but when she begins study in her new class, she finds her thoughts straying even more. She admits: “Some words / sit still on the page / holding a story steady. / … / But other words have wings / that wake my daydreams. / They … / tickle my imagination, / and carry my thoughts away.” To illustrate Gabby’s inner wanderings, Grimes’ narrative breaks from the present into episodic bursts of vivid poetic reminiscence. Luckily, Gabby’s new teacher recognizes this inability to focus to be a coping mechanism and devises a daily activity designed to harness daydreaming’s creativity with a remarkably positive result for both Gabby and the entire class. Throughout this finely wrought narrative, Grimes’ free verse is tight, with perfect breaks of line and effortless shifts from reality to dream states and back.

An inspirational exploration of caring among parent, teacher and child—one of Grimes’ best. (Poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59078-985-8

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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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

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