Originally funded by a Kickstarter, this reinvention of Shakespeare’s verse into a new format is sure to be a hit with...

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BEHOWL THE MOON

AN AGELESS STORY FROM SHAKESPEARE'S A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

Shakespeare’s words reach a new—very young—audience in this gorgeously illustrated board book offering a new story by debut adapter Parekh and veteran illustrator Amini (Chicken in the Kitchen, 2015, etc.) of fairies and animals to accompany lines from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Beginning with familiar visuals for young lap readers, the book opens with a roaring lion and a howling wolf. The animals, along with some fairy friends, free a tired donkey from his yoke while a ploughman sleeps. Joined by a mouse, a screech owl, and a growing population of fairies, the group hikes to the ruins of an old church, finding the three-faced Hecate, whose cloak contains the night. With the fervor of Maurice Sendak’s Wild Things on their rumpus, the characters frolic before they hush, assuring listeners if this has seemed too strange, it is “but a dream.” Soon, all the animals and their fairy friends drowse off as well, making for a lulling bedtime tale. Shakespeare’s lines are sure to challenge young independent readers, but for the youngest listeners, whose minds hear sounds and rhythms as much as the words they’re still learning to decode, the patterns here are as lovely on the ear as they are when spoken by Puck at the end of the famous play. Amini’s textured illustrations of the fearsome wolf and lion might intimidate youngsters if not for the playful fairies on every page, smiling, with wings blurred so that they actually appear to be moving out of the corner of a viewer’s eye. Hecate’s black-and-white, almost transparent form contrasts with the luxuriously rendered creatures, such as the brightly pigmented snake and fairies, some of whom have a three-dimensional appearance in their dress, like petals or scales. Parents who love Shakespeare will find this a perfect introduction to the works of the Bard—it’s at once sophisticated and approachable, with a whimsy that youngsters will enjoy.

Originally funded by a Kickstarter, this reinvention of Shakespeare’s verse into a new format is sure to be a hit with parents and their littlest listeners, too.

Pub Date: March 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9984397-1-6

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Drivel and Drool

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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A witty addition to the long-running series.

THE DEEP END

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 15

The Wimpy Kid hits the road.

The Heffley clan has been stuck living together in Gramma’s basement for two months, waiting for the family home to be repaired, and the constant togetherness has been getting on everybody’s nerves. Luckily Greg’s Uncle Gary has a camper waiting for someone to use it, and so the Heffleys set off on the open road looking for an adventurous vacation, hoping the changing scenery will bring a spark back to the family unit. The winding road leads the Heffleys to a sprawling RV park, a setting teeming with possibilities for Greg to get up to his usual shenanigans. Greg’s snarky asides and misadventures continue to entertain. At this point the Wimpy Kid books run like a well-oiled machine, paced perfectly with witty lines, smart gags, and charming cartoons. Kinney knows just where to put a joke, the precise moment to give a character shading, and exactly how to get the narrative rolling, spinning out the oddest plot developments. The appreciation Kinney has for these characters seeps through the novels, endearing the Heffleys to readers even through this title, the 15th installment in a franchise boasting spinoffs, movies, and merchandise. There may come a time when Greg and his family overstay their welcome, but thankfully that day still seems far off.

A witty addition to the long-running series. (Humor. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4868-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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An endearing protagonist runs the first, fast leg of Reynolds' promising relay.

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GHOST

From the Track series , Vol. 1

Castle “Ghost” Cranshaw feels like he’s been running ever since his dad pulled that gun on him and his mom—and used it.

His dad’s been in jail three years now, but Ghost still feels the trauma, which is probably at the root of the many “altercations” he gets into at middle school. When he inserts himself into a practice for a local elite track team, the Defenders, he’s fast enough that the hard-as-nails coach decides to put him on the team. Ghost is surprised to find himself caring enough about being on the team that he curbs his behavior to avoid “altercations.” But Ma doesn’t have money to spare on things like fancy running shoes, so Ghost shoplifts a pair that make his feet feel impossibly light—and his conscience correspondingly heavy. Ghost’s narration is candid and colloquial, reminiscent of such original voices as Bud Caldwell and Joey Pigza; his level of self-understanding is both believably childlike and disarming in its perception. He is self-focused enough that secondary characters initially feel one-dimensional, Coach in particular, but as he gets to know them better, so do readers, in a way that unfolds naturally and pleasingly. His three fellow “newbies” on the Defenders await their turns to star in subsequent series outings. Characters are black by default; those few white people in Ghost’s world are described as such.

An endearing protagonist runs the first, fast leg of Reynolds' promising relay. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5015-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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