Emergent readers will enjoy solving the mystery along with these delightful Sherlocks.

KING & KAYLA AND THE CASE OF THE GOLD RING

From the King & Kayla series , Vol. 7

The dynamic duo of lovable canine detective King and his human, Kayla, returns to solve another mystery.

King and Kayla are playing in the snow with pal Mason when Asia, another friend, joins them, proudly displaying a special gold ring. After the cold forces them inside, Mom puts their wet outer garments in the dryer, and they’re ready for snack time. When Asia discovers that her gold ring is gone, children and dog take the mystery seriously and go into search mode. They retrace their steps, examine every nook and cranny (with some help from Mom, who demonstrates her plumbing skills), and follow up every possibility as they put their well-honed problem-solving skills to the test. King has a few ideas of his own, but he’s frustrated because even Kayla can’t understand his doggie language. He winds up locked in the laundry room, where he spots something shiny in the dryer. The case is closed, to everyone’s delight and relief. King narrates the tale with happy, enthusiastic aplomb, pausing the action frequently to note his many favorite things, mostly food. Butler keeps syntax and vocabulary simple, with brief sentences separated by lots of white space and organized in logical chapters. Meyers’ cartoons illuminate the tale, depicting the body language and expressive faces of all the characters, human and canine, with great animation and adding many touches of humor. Asia, Kayla, and Kayla’s mom present Black, and Mason presents White.

Emergent readers will enjoy solving the mystery along with these delightful Sherlocks. (Early reader/mystery. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68263-207-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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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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