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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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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Essential.

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THIS BOOK IS ANTI-RACIST

20 LESSONS ON HOW TO WAKE UP, TAKE ACTION, AND DO THE WORK

A guidebook for taking action against racism.

The clear title and bold, colorful illustrations will immediately draw attention to this book, designed to guide each reader on a personal journey to work to dismantle racism. In the author’s note, Jewell begins with explanations about word choice, including the use of the terms “folx,” because it is gender neutral, and “global majority,” noting that marginalized communities of color are actually the majority in the world. She also chooses to capitalize Black, Brown, and Indigenous as a way of centering these communities’ voices; "white" is not capitalized. Organized in four sections—identity, history, taking action, and working in solidarity—each chapter builds on the lessons of the previous section. Underlined words are defined in the glossary, but Jewell unpacks concepts around race in an accessible way, bringing attention to common misunderstandings. Activities are included at the end of each chapter; they are effective, prompting both self-reflection and action steps from readers. The activities are designed to not be written inside the actual book; instead Jewell invites readers to find a special notebook and favorite pen and use that throughout. Combining the disruption of common fallacies, spotlights on change makers, the author’s personal reflections, and a call to action, this powerful book has something for all young people no matter what stage they are at in terms of awareness or activism.

Essential. (author’s note, further reading, glossary, select bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4521-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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