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A charming dog’s tale sure to reward curious readers.

A magical thrift store blanket turns an 8-year-old boy into a dog.

While Felix Powell and his grandmother Nan are exploring Birdie’s Thrift Shop, a well-worn blanket catches his eye. Though Nan points out that it’s summer in Louisiana—hardly blanket weather—he’s certain that it’s something special. At home, Felix tries to unlock the blanket’s power. Can it make him fly? Is it an invisibility cloak? As Felix has a backyard picnic with his dog, Mary Puppins, with whom he can communicate, the two of them play a game: Can You Free Felix From the Blanket While He Holds On as Tight as He Can? When the blanket comes off, another dog stares back at Puppins—it’s Felix Powell, Boy Dog! While Felix discovers the joys of being a dog, he soon begins to worry: Will his grandmother, who adopted him after his mother couldn’t care for him, want him now that he’s a dog? Will he ever be a human again? Woven effectively into this whimsical story are animal facts and insights into how dogs perceive the world; animal lovers like Felix will be pleased. Kelly folds in lessons of empathy and compassion from Puppins and Gumbo, a haughty yet friendly stray cat. Short chapters feature simple but effective black-and-white illustrations that help move the plot forward. Felix has skin the white of the page. Final art not seen.

A charming dog’s tale sure to reward curious readers. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: July 16, 2024

ISBN: 9780063337169

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2024

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It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists.

How to raise money for a coveted poster: put your friends to work!

John, founder of the FUBU fashion line and a Shark Tank venture capitalist, offers a self-referential blueprint for financial success. Having only half of the $10 he needs for a Minka J poster, Daymond forks over $1 to buy a plain T-shirt, paints a picture of the pop star on it, sells it for $5, and uses all of his cash to buy nine more shirts. Then he recruits three friends to decorate them with his design and help sell them for an unspecified amount (from a conveniently free and empty street-fair booth) until they’re gone. The enterprising entrepreneur reimburses himself for the shirts and splits the remaining proceeds, which leaves him with enough for that poster as well as a “brand-new business book,” while his friends express other fiscal strategies: saving their share, spending it all on new art supplies, or donating part and buying a (math) book with the rest. (In a closing summation, the author also suggests investing in stocks, bonds, or cryptocurrency.) Though Miles cranks up the visual energy in her sparsely detailed illustrations by incorporating bright colors and lots of greenbacks, the actual advice feels a bit vague. Daymond is Black; most of the cast are people of color. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-56727-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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From the Stella Díaz series , Vol. 1

A nice and timely depiction of an immigrant child experience.

Speaking up is hard when you’re shy, and it can be even harder if you’ve got two languages in your head.

Third-grader Estrella “Stella” Díaz, is a shy, Mexican-American girl who draws pictures and loves fish, and she lives in Chicago with her mother and older brother, Nick. Jenny, Stella’s best friend, isn’t in her class this year, and Stella feels lonely—especially when she sees that Vietnamese-American Jenny is making new friends. When a new student, Stanley Mason, arrives in her class, Stella introduces herself in Spanish to the white former Texan without realizing it and becomes embarrassed. Surely Stanley won’t want to befriend her after that—but he seems to anyway. Stella often confuses the pronunciation between English and Spanish sounds and takes speech classes. As an immigrant with a green card—a “legal alien,” according to her teacher—Stella feels that she doesn’t fully belong to either American culture or Mexican culture, and this is nicely reflected in her not being fully comfortable in either language, an experience familiar to many immigrant and first-generation children. This early-middle-grade book features italicized Spanish words and phrases with direct translations right after. There is a small subplot about bullying from Stella’s classmate, and readers will cheer as they see how, with the help of her friends and family, Stella overcomes her shyness and gives a presentation on Jacques Cousteau. Dominguez’s friendly black-and-white drawings grace most pages.

A nice and timely depiction of an immigrant child experience. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-858-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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