THE TWIN GIANTS

Two bachelor giants set out in search of wives in this droll and handsomely presented offering. Except that one’s a vegetarian and one’s not, Normus and Lottavim (“There’s a-lot-uv-’im!” said his mother at first gander) are as close as twins can be—so one day, they simultaneously get the idea that it’s time for marriage. They split up, deciding that they’ll have better luck if they look separately, and this allows for plenty of comical conversations as they approach the same candidates at different times. Printed on heavy, very white paper, the generously leaded text and Grey’s witty color illustrations—which feature both maps and loudly dressed giants obliviously striding past tiny, quizzical livestock and beleaguered villagers—have an appealing brightness and feel. Ultimately the two meet their matches in twins Georgie and Alexandra—and in time, each happy couple goes on to produce twins. Pity the aforesaid villagers. Recent early-reader graduates with a taste for the tongue-in-cheek will enjoy this amiable episode. (Fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-7636-3529-9

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2008

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THE LEMONADE WAR

From the Lemonade War series , Vol. 1

Told from the point of view of two warring siblings, this could have been an engaging first chapter book. Unfortunately, the length makes it less likely to appeal to the intended audience. Jessie and Evan are usually good friends as well as sister and brother. But the news that bright Jessie will be skipping a grade to join Evan’s fourth-grade class creates tension. Evan believes himself to be less than clever; Jessie’s emotional maturity doesn’t quite measure up to her intelligence. Rivalry and misunderstandings grow as the two compete to earn the most money in the waning days of summer. The plot rolls along smoothly and readers will be able to both follow the action and feel superior to both main characters as their motivations and misconceptions are clearly displayed. Indeed, a bit more subtlety in characterization might have strengthened the book’s appeal. The final resolution is not entirely believable, but the emphasis on cooperation and understanding is clear. Earnest and potentially successful, but just misses the mark. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 23, 2007

ISBN: 0-618-75043-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2007

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WAYS TO MAKE SUNSHINE

From the Ryan Hart series , Vol. 1

Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet!

Ryan Hart is navigating the fourth grade and all its challenges with determination.

Her mom named her Ryan because it means “king,” and she wanted Ryan to feel powerful every time she heard her name; Ryan knows it means she is a leader. So when changes occur or disaster strikes, budding chef Ryan does her best to find the positive and “make sunshine.” When her dad is laid off from the post office, the family must make adjustments that include moving into a smaller house, selling their car, and changing how they shop for groceries. But Ryan gets to stay at Vernon Elementary, and her mom still finds a way to get her the ingredients she needs to practice new recipes. Her older brother, Ray, can be bossy, but he finds little ways to support her, especially when she is down—as does the whole family. Each episodic chapter confronts Ryan with a situation; intermittently funny, frustrating, and touching, they should be familiar and accessible to readers, as when Ryan fumbles her Easter speech despite careful practice. Ryan, her family, and friends are Black, and Watson continues to bring visibility to both Portland, Oregon, generally and its Black community specifically, making another wonderful contribution that allows Black readers to see themselves and all readers to find a character they can love.

Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet! (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0056-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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