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PIPER COOKS UP A PLAN

From the Daring Dreamers Club series , Vol. 2

Sweet but heavy on lessons learned.

For a journal assignment, all the girls in the Daring Dreamers Club have chosen a Disney princess with whom they feel a connection.

In this second entry in the series, Piper has selected Tiana from The Princess and the Frog, because they both have several obstacles to overcome. She is dyslexic, has difficulties reading and writing, and now has trouble solving math word problems. Her greatest joy is experimenting with food using the scientific method to concoct her recipes. She has been selected to participate in a reality TV show that challenges child chefs and offers a large monetary prize to the winner. She learns that obstacles need not be faced alone and that she has the support of her family and her friends in the club. Piper’s tale is interspersed with her journal entries and those of the other club members, sharing their thoughts about their own challenges. Piper is Jewish, conveyed in a reference to Passover, Mariana is Latina, Zahra is Muslim, and Ruby is white, a child of divorce. Milla is African-American and the heroine of the previous series entry. Although the girls have distinct and interesting personalities, the ethnic and racial diversity feels skin-deep; interestingly, not one girl chooses to focus on a princess that shares her race or ethnicity. Soderberg employs a compassionate, light, and humorous tone, allowing readers to root wholeheartedly for Piper, but the princess connection tries too hard.

Sweet but heavy on lessons learned. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7364-3944-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

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A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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GHOSTS

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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