Readers will appreciate getting to know Hattie.

HATTIE

A young mischief-maker manages to get herself out of mishaps.

Six-year-old Hattie lives with her loving parents in a red house in Sweden. Their town is “far out in the middle of nowhere.” Hattie loves that she’s started school. She rides on the bus, does well, and makes friends. Each brief chapter in this gently comical novel describes various escapades Hattie gets up to, often alone, sometimes with her best pal. Readers will be intrigued by Hattie’s adventures and will note that each one offers a glimpse into her conscience and lively, persevering personality. Not coincidentally, the incidents advance Hattie’s character development, though she remains a child her age. Like most kids, Hattie can be peevish, has a playful, creative imagination, enjoys testing her limits, and doesn’t usually foresee or understand the consequences of impulsivity. Still, when events don’t conclude the way she’d hoped or planned, Hattie gets sad, angry, or annoyed with herself, learning lessons probably no grown-ups could teach better. Readers will note Hattie’s rarely scolded; however, adults are often oblivious to her activities, and she does chide herself. This fast-paced, amusing charmer, with clipped sentences that promote quick reading, is a Swedish import via New Zealand and offers interesting insight into some Nordic customs. Loose black-line illustrations add humor and suggest that all characters are white. An interview with the author appears in the backmatter.

Readers will appreciate getting to know Hattie. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-776572-70-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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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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Young readers will recognize Suds as one of their own and will gladly follow him to fourth grade. Sweet and funny.

THIRD GRADE ANGELS

Suds Morton is not yet a “Fourth Grade Rat.” In this prequel to Spinelli's 1991 standby, he is a year younger and, according to his school’s traditional chant, he aspires to the sobriquet of “Third Grade Angel.”

When his teacher announces her intention of rewarding angelic behavior with a halo, Suds decides he wants to be the first angel. Between his cool new friend Joey, his wise mom and a little conclusion-jumping, he comes up with a plan. But, of course, his results are just a little off-kilter. Suds, nicknamed for his preference for calming soaks in bubble baths when he gets “chipmunky,” needs all the help he can get to deal with the various disasters and tribulations that threaten to overwhelm him. Along with the angel chase there’s a pesky little sister, a fifth-grade bully and total rejection by the girl he adores. Spinelli doesn’t miss a beat in recreating the characters from the earlier work and never reveals any hint of Suds’ fourth-grade future. He lets readers into Suds’ 8-year-old mind without condescension. His problems and concerns are treated comically but with genuine kindness. Suds is innocent, gullible and trusting; he is also entirely good-hearted.

Young readers will recognize Suds as one of their own and will gladly follow him to fourth grade. Sweet and funny. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-38772-9

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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