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THE MOST MARVELOUS INTERNATIONAL SPELLING BEE

From the Spectacular Spelling Bee series , Vol. 2

Another round of laughs.

The irrepressible Wimple family returns.

India Wimple, Australia’s champion speller, has returned home from her victory at the Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee in Sydney. Now that the mayor has awarded her the Yungabilla Medallion and giant plastic zucchini in commemoration of her feat, she just wants to get back to her quiet life. But then a letter arrives: an invitation to the Most Marvelous International Spelling Bee! Soon, the Wimples are off to London, where a mystery arises when a saboteur strikes. India is on the case, joined once again by her sweet and kooky family and pals Rajish and Summer, Australia’s other two top spellers. New competitors-turned-friends include bullied English boy Peter and a neglected Canadian girl named Holly, both of whom are looking for acceptance. Absurd humor abounds: When the contestants and their parents meet the queen, Holly’s fitness-guru parents try to sell her their Beaut Butts and Guts exercise program; the Wimples can’t understand why no-nonsense Nanna Flo keeps giggling (she’s smitten with Peter’s grandfather); and the bee’s special guest is the only three-time world champion, a grown man resembling Liberace. Combine this with Bitskoff’s spot cartoons and lots of vocabulary that will be new to many young readers, and much merriment and edification mark this story of bravery, friendship, and logophilia. The cast is primarily white or assumed white; Indian-Australian Rajish and his family are notable exceptions.

Another round of laughs. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6819-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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LITTLE DAYMOND LEARNS TO EARN

It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists.

How to raise money for a coveted poster: put your friends to work!

John, founder of the FUBU fashion line and a Shark Tank venture capitalist, offers a self-referential blueprint for financial success. Having only half of the $10 he needs for a Minka J poster, Daymond forks over $1 to buy a plain T-shirt, paints a picture of the pop star on it, sells it for $5, and uses all of his cash to buy nine more shirts. Then he recruits three friends to decorate them with his design and help sell them for an unspecified amount (from a conveniently free and empty street-fair booth) until they’re gone. The enterprising entrepreneur reimburses himself for the shirts and splits the remaining proceeds, which leaves him with enough for that poster as well as a “brand-new business book,” while his friends express other fiscal strategies: saving their share, spending it all on new art supplies, or donating part and buying a (math) book with the rest. (In a closing summation, the author also suggests investing in stocks, bonds, or cryptocurrency.) Though Miles cranks up the visual energy in her sparsely detailed illustrations by incorporating bright colors and lots of greenbacks, the actual advice feels a bit vague. Daymond is Black; most of the cast are people of color. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-56727-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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STELLA DÍAZ HAS SOMETHING TO SAY

From the Stella Díaz series , Vol. 1

A nice and timely depiction of an immigrant child experience.

Speaking up is hard when you’re shy, and it can be even harder if you’ve got two languages in your head.

Third-grader Estrella “Stella” Díaz, is a shy, Mexican-American girl who draws pictures and loves fish, and she lives in Chicago with her mother and older brother, Nick. Jenny, Stella’s best friend, isn’t in her class this year, and Stella feels lonely—especially when she sees that Vietnamese-American Jenny is making new friends. When a new student, Stanley Mason, arrives in her class, Stella introduces herself in Spanish to the white former Texan without realizing it and becomes embarrassed. Surely Stanley won’t want to befriend her after that—but he seems to anyway. Stella often confuses the pronunciation between English and Spanish sounds and takes speech classes. As an immigrant with a green card—a “legal alien,” according to her teacher—Stella feels that she doesn’t fully belong to either American culture or Mexican culture, and this is nicely reflected in her not being fully comfortable in either language, an experience familiar to many immigrant and first-generation children. This early-middle-grade book features italicized Spanish words and phrases with direct translations right after. There is a small subplot about bullying from Stella’s classmate, and readers will cheer as they see how, with the help of her friends and family, Stella overcomes her shyness and gives a presentation on Jacques Cousteau. Dominguez’s friendly black-and-white drawings grace most pages.

A nice and timely depiction of an immigrant child experience. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-858-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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