Wonderfully imaginative and intriguing.

I GOT IT!

A weedy kid in shorts and a T-shirt goes to the sandlot with a glove, hoping to play.

Sent to the outfield, the kid waits for a chance. The batter hits a long fly ball that sails that way. The protagonist runs, leaps, and stretches, yelling, “I got it!”—the only words in the book. But the kid trips over some roots, dives, and lands on the ground with the ball just out of reach, while team members cluster around, clutching their heads in disbelief. Wiesner is a master of fantastical wordless (or nearly so) adventures, and what seems to be a simple event becomes a series of might-have-beens and possibilities, playing out several times with different scenarios. A huge tree with protruding roots appears and stops the kid from getting to the ball; several teammates give chase, gloves outstretched, as the protagonist seems to be among them and then flying over them to finally grab the elusive ball: “I GOT IT!” This time it is the batter who’s thrown into despair, while the protagonist’s team cheers. And what about the birds? Are they just observers or are they somehow affecting the outcome? Sometimes the protagonist is small and the glove and ball are huge as perspective shifts. The scenes are softly painted, growing brighter and sharper after the catch. Readers will interpret it any way they wish, perhaps differently with each perusal. The protagonist has light olive skin and straight black hair, and the other players are racially and gender diverse.

Wonderfully imaginative and intriguing. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-30902-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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Celebrate a truly accepting multicultural character.

LOLA LEVINE IS NOT MEAN!

From the Lola Levine series , Vol. 1

Brown introduces a smart, young protagonist with a multicultural background in this series opener for chapter-book readers.

Second-grader Lola Levine is half-Peruvian and half-Jewish; she is a skilled soccer player, a persuasive writer, and aspires to own a cat in the near future should her parents concede. During a friendly recess soccer match, Lola, playing goalie, defends an incoming ball by coming out of her box and accidentally fouls a classmate. And so Lola acquires the rhyming nickname Mean Lola Levine. Through Lola’s first-person narration, readers see clearly how her savvy and creativity come from her family: Dad, who paints, Mom, who writes, and a fireball younger brother. She also wears her bicultural identity easily. In her narration, her letters to her friends, and dialogue, Lola easily inserts such words as diario, tía, bubbe, and shalom. For dinner, the family eats matzo ball soup, Peruvian chicken, and flan. Interspersed throughout the story are references to all-star soccer athletes, from Brazilian master Pelé to Mia Hamm, Briana Scurry, and David Beckham. Dominguez’s black-and-white illustrations are cheery and appealing, depicting a long-haired Caucasian father and dark-skinned, black-haired mother. Typefaces that emulate penmanship appropriately differ from character to character: Lola’s is small and clean, her mother’s is tall and slanted, while Juan’s, the injured classmate, is sloppy and lacks finesse.

Celebrate a truly accepting multicultural character. (Fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-316-25836-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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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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