This quietly emotional tale is an ultimately triumphant one

THE DOG WHO LOST HIS BARK

A boy and a puppy overcome difficult times in this illustrated chapter book.

Beginning the tale from the puppy’s point of view, Colfer employs simple language evoking an innocent sensibility, with many words in all-caps reflecting puppyish enthusiasm. The puppy’s early days with his mother and siblings are followed by a heart-wrenching stint with the abusive couple who brings the puppy home as a present for their cruel boy. After the puppy is abandoned at the dump, Colfer switches the point of view to Patrick, a human boy, who is driving with his mother to his grandad’s house to spend the summer. Asking when his touring-musician father will arrive, Patrick is dumbfounded when his mother, instead of answering the question, asks him if he would like to have a dog. Evading the issue of his father’s allergies, Patrick’s grandfather brings him to the shelter, where he picks out (readers will be so relieved) the abandoned puppy and names him Oz. Oz, however, is so traumatized he stays in his crate until, by accident, Patrick’s grandfather discovers that Oz enjoys music. Patrick digs out his violin and plays for him, eventually gaining his trust. Just as all seems well, Patrick learns that his father is leaving his mother—and now it is Oz’s turn to rescue Patrick. Lynch’s realistic pencil illustrations greatly amplify the story, their sensitively rendered human and dog expressions echoing the varying tones of the text. Humans are depicted as white.

This quietly emotional tale is an ultimately triumphant one . (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0442-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale.

A TRUE HOME

From the Heartwood Hotel series , Vol. 1

An orphan mouse unexpectedly arrives at Heartwood Hotel, which she hopes will become the home she’s seeking.

Mona’s never had a home for long. After a storm forces her to flee her latest forest shelter, she discovers an enormous tree with a heart carved into its trunk. When Mona presses the heart, a door opens, and she enters the lobby of Heartwood Hotel, where small forest critters hibernate, eat, and celebrate in safety. The kindhearted badger proprietor, Mr. Heartwood, takes pity on homeless Mona, allowing her to stay for the fall to assist the maid, Tilly, a red squirrel. Grateful to be at Heartwood, Mona strives to prove herself despite Tilly’s unfriendly attitude. Mona’s clever approaches with a wounded songbird, an anxious skunk, and a wayward bear win Mr. Heartwood’s approval. But when Mona accidentally breaks a rule, Tilly convinces her she will be fired. As Mona secretly leaves Heartwood, she discovers marauding wolves planning to crash Heartwood’s Snow Festival and devises a daring plan to save the place she regards as home. Charming anthropomorphic characters, humorous mishaps, and outside threats add to the drama. Delicate pencil illustrations reinforce Heartwood’s cozy home theme. A sequel, The Greatest Gift, publishes simultaneously.

A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale. (Animal fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3161-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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