Entertaining reading for the newest generation of detectives.

KING & KAYLA AND THE CASE OF THE UNHAPPY NEIGHBOR

From the King & Kayla series

King and Kayla’s newest adventure involves digging into…mistaken identity!

Many young readers have begun to grasp the unfortunate truth that sometimes you can show up in the wrong place at the wrong time, like Jillian’s puppy, Thor, and be blamed for something you didn’t do. It seems Thor likes to dig and wrecked Mr. Gary’s yard when he got loose, but Thor tells King he did no such thing. When King puts the clues together with Kayla, they realize that Thor would not have eaten all the fruits and vegetables consumed and is not big enough to knock over a trash can. King decides to investigate with all the animals in the neighborhood while, together, Kayla and Jillian create case details. It’s a whodunit mystery that dogs, cats, and owners come together to solve. Meyers invests all her characters with lots of personality, particularly shrewd King and eager Thor; crabby Mr. Gary looks like a terrible pill. (He and Jillian present white; Kayla presents black.) Beginning readers will like the spacious typeset and thought bubbles that clue readers in to King’s thinking. This is a great story to help emerging readers strengthen their comprehension skills, and caregivers can easily discuss what young readers already know and what they are discovering along the way to piece together a final conclusion—that, happily, will clear Thor’s name.

Entertaining reading for the newest generation of detectives. (Early reader. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-055-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for...

DOG DAYS

From the Carver Chronicles series , Vol. 1

A gentle voice and familiar pitfalls characterize this tale of a boy navigating the risky road to responsibility. 

Gavin is new to his neighborhood and Carver Elementary. He likes his new friend, Richard, and has a typically contentious relationship with his older sister, Danielle. When Gavin’s desire to impress Richard sets off a disastrous chain of events, the boy struggles to evade responsibility for his actions. “After all, it isn’t his fault that Danielle’s snow globe got broken. Sure, he shouldn’t have been in her room—but then, she shouldn’t be keeping candy in her room to tempt him. Anybody would be tempted. Anybody!” opines Gavin once he learns the punishment for his crime. While Gavin has a charming Everyboy quality, and his aversion to Aunt Myrtle’s yapping little dog rings true, little about Gavin distinguishes him from other trouble-prone protagonists. He is, regrettably, forgettable. Coretta Scott King Honor winner English (Francie, 1999) is a teacher whose storytelling usually benefits from her day job. Unfortunately, the pizzazz of classroom chaos is largely absent from this series opener.

This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for subsequent volumes. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-97044-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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