A celebration of the first 100 days starring a boy brimming with personality.

HARRY VERSUS THE FIRST 100 DAYS OF SCHOOL

The first 100 days of school are a really big deal.

Harry Bergen-Murphy, age 5, is starting first grade but doesn’t feel ready. As described in “Day 1” (chapters contain multiple days, each labeled), Mommy and Charlotte, Harry’s older sister, help him face “big-kid school” on his first day. Details of the subsequent 99 days are incorporated, journal-style, into the novel’s 19 chapters and narrated in third person, present tense, providing a nice sense of immediacy. As the days proceed, Harry makes friends (and becomes a great one himself); figures out silent “E” and aces sight words; creates pompom monsters; articulates uncomfortable emotions; overcomes a fear of guinea pigs; devises an ingenious way to bring 100 items to the 100th-day celebration; and much more. Abetted by loving family, kind teachers, and close friends, Harry blossoms into one terrific kid. Readers will love joining him on this realistic, comical, heartwarming journey. Frequent references to puke and boogers enhance the humor in this captivating tale, written with keen awareness for the way kids speak, think, and behave. Oswald’s full-color illustrations depict Harry and family as white; Harry’s best friend has brown skin. Other adults and classmates appear with diverse skin tones, hair styles, and hair colors. A female crossing guard wears a hijab; some characters wear glasses.

A celebration of the first 100 days starring a boy brimming with personality. (author’s note) (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-64471-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Anne Schwartz/Random

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

WHAT THE ROAD SAID

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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