IRIS AND WALTER

THE SLEEPOVER

Best friends Iris and Walter eagerly look forward to their first sleepover. Iris has grand plans for the big night. When she shares her exciting news with her schoolmates, Iris blithely disregards cautionary tales of woe, determined that her first sleepover will not be marred by homesickness. Yet, when all the fun is done and it is time to settle down to sleep, Iris discovers that she misses the familiar comforts of home. An urgent whisper in Walter’s ear soon has Iris back within the warm embrace of her family. Guest has perfectly captured that unique moment in child development when a little one is precariously balanced on that fragile cusp between parent-dependent young childhood and the more emancipated older child. Everyone’s easy acceptance of Iris’s change of heart offers her all the support she needs; she goes to sleep in her own bed, confident that when the time comes, she will be ready to try another sleepover. Separated into four chapters, this is a manageable tale for beginning readers ready to move beyond simplistic chapter books. Davenier’s bright pen-and-ink illustrations capture the ebullience of Iris as she prances about in a frenzy of anticipation for the big event. Artful, haphazardly colored-in, and loosely drawn images convey an energy and vibrancy to the pictures. Readers will welcome this latest installment in the true-to-life stories of these charming friends. (Easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-15-216487-1

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Gulliver/Harcourt

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2002

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Accessible, reassuring and hopeful.

THE INVISIBLE BOY

This endearing picture book about a timid boy who longs to belong has an agenda but delivers its message with great sensitivity.

Brian wants to join in but is overlooked, even ostracized, by his classmates. Readers first see him alone on the front endpapers, drawing in chalk on the ground. The school scenarios are uncomfortably familiar: High-maintenance children get the teacher’s attention; team captains choose kickball players by popularity and athletic ability; chatter about birthday parties indicates they are not inclusive events. Tender illustrations rendered in glowing hues capture Brian’s isolation deftly; compared to the others and his surroundings, he appears in black and white. What saves Brian is his creativity. As he draws, Brian imagines amazing stories, including a poignant one about a superhero with the power to make friends. When a new boy takes some ribbing, it is Brian who leaves an illustrated note to make him feel better. The boy does not forget this gesture. It only takes one person noticing Brian for the others to see his talents have value; that he has something to contribute. Brian’s colors pop. In the closing endpapers, Brian’s classmates are spread around him on the ground, “wearing” his chalk-drawn wings and capes. Use this to start a discussion: The author includes suggested questions and recommended reading lists for adults and children.

Accessible, reassuring and hopeful. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-582-46450-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character

PEDRO, FIRST-GRADE HERO

From the Pedro series , Vol. 1

The creators of the Katie Woo series turn their focus to a peripheral character, first-grader Pedro—Katie’s friend and schoolmate.

Four short chapters—“Pedro Goes Buggy,” “Pedro’s Big Goal,” “Pedro’s Mystery Club,” and “Pedro For President”—highlight a Latino main character surrounded by a superbly diverse cast. At times unsure of himself, Pedro is extremely likable, for he wants to do his best and is a fair friend. He consistently comes out on top, even when his younger brother releases all the bugs he’s captured for a class assignment or when self-assured bully Roddy tries to unite opposition to Pedro’s female opponent (Katie Woo) in the race for first-grade class president. Using a third-person, past-tense narrative voice, Manushkin expands her repertoire by adding a hero comparable to EllRay Jakes. What is refreshing about the book is that for the most part, aside from Roddy’s gender-based bullying, the book overcomes boy-girl stereotypes: girls and boys play soccer, boys and girls run for president, girls and boys hunt for bugs, all setting a progressive standard for chapter books. With mixed-media illustrations featuring colorful bugs, soccer action, a mystery hunt, and a presidential campaign, Lyon’s attention to detail in color and facial expressions complements the story nicely.

This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character . (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5158-0112-2

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Picture Window Books

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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