A pleasant story about a curious horse that will spark the imaginations of young readers.

Penny the Palomino Quarter Horse and Her New Shoes

A horse wonders what kind of new shoes she could possibly wear in Scogin’s debut children’s book. 

Penny is a bright, curious palomino quarter horse who spends her days playing outside in the grass with her friend, the ranch dog, lapping up water from the stream, and chasing “black and gold butterflies until the sleepy sun hid itself behind the mountains.” It’s a straightforward, easy life until she overhears her owner, Mr. Dollarhide, saying that Penny will be getting new shoes the next day. The little horse, perplexed by what she heard, wonders why a horse would need shoes and thinks about all the types of shoes she’s seen: the 13-year-old son of her owner, for example, has sneakers with wheels; the 19-year-old daughter wears teetering high heels; and Mr. Dollarhide wears “well-worn silver leather cowboy boots with points in the front,” which “looked very comfortable on him.” She imagines her big horse hooves wearing each of the shoes—she would move in four different directions with wheels on her feet, smash the delicate high heels with her heavy hooves, and wouldn’t fit into narrow cowboy boots. The next morning, Mr. Dollarhide shows Penny just what her new shoes look like, and she realizes that they’re just right. This warmly written story, told with humor in Ray’s colorful illustrations and Scogin’s rich, descriptive language, introduces a character that kids will relate to. Penny is energetic and curious about the world and about herself; for example, when she imagines wearing other people’s shoes, she sees how their lives are different from hers but also understands how their shoes work well for them. When she finally receives her own pair of silver horseshoes, it's clear that she’s thrilled—her tail “wiggled, wagged, whipped, and whirled with excitement”—because she has a pair of shoes that’s uniquely hers.

A pleasant story about a curious horse that will spark the imaginations of young readers.

Pub Date: July 14, 2015

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sarah Book Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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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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