There’s no bones about it: young readers will get a taste of the classic in a fun and humerus way (wocka wocka).

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

From the Muppets Meet the Classics series

The Muppets put a humorous spin on the classic tragedy The Phantom of the Opera.

The plot is much the same as the original, with Muppets filling in for the original characters. Vicomte Kermit de Chagny and Mademoiselle Piggy Daaé are the main characters and love interests in this tragic tale. As in the classic, Piggy Daaé rises as a star of the Paris Opera House due to training from an Angel of Music, who in this tale is a Koozebanian of Music from the planet Koozebane (or is he?). The main difference between this book and the classic (other than the cast) is the conglomeration of time periods, with a mix of details drawn from both the 21st and the 19th centuries. This may cause older readers mild confusion at first, but children will likely read without inhibition, as the experience of coming across names and objects they recognize and some things they may not is a familiar one. This puntastic tale is full of beloved faces, such as the grouchy pranksters Statler and Waldorf. As in many children’s stories, there is entertainment for older readers with abundant modern references, often found in footnotes, as in a tidbit about Beaker’s burial alongside Oscar Wilde, Molière, and Jim Morrison.

There’s no bones about it: young readers will get a taste of the classic in a fun and humerus way (wocka wocka). (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-451-53437-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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An inspirational exploration of caring among parent, teacher and child—one of Grimes’ best. (Poetry. 8-12)

WORDS WITH WINGS

In this delightfully spare narrative in verse, Coretta Scott King Award–winning Grimes examines a marriage’s end from the perspective of a child.

Set mostly in the wake of her father’s departure, only-child Gabby reveals with moving clarity in these short first-person poems the hardship she faces relocating with her mother and negotiating the further loss of a good friend while trying to adjust to a new school. Gabby has always been something of a dreamer, but when she begins study in her new class, she finds her thoughts straying even more. She admits: “Some words / sit still on the page / holding a story steady. / … / But other words have wings / that wake my daydreams. / They … / tickle my imagination, / and carry my thoughts away.” To illustrate Gabby’s inner wanderings, Grimes’ narrative breaks from the present into episodic bursts of vivid poetic reminiscence. Luckily, Gabby’s new teacher recognizes this inability to focus to be a coping mechanism and devises a daily activity designed to harness daydreaming’s creativity with a remarkably positive result for both Gabby and the entire class. Throughout this finely wrought narrative, Grimes’ free verse is tight, with perfect breaks of line and effortless shifts from reality to dream states and back.

An inspirational exploration of caring among parent, teacher and child—one of Grimes’ best. (Poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59078-985-8

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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A fast and funny alternative to the Wimpy Kid.

JAKE THE FAKE KEEPS IT REAL

From the Jake the Fake series , Vol. 1

Black sixth-grader Jake Liston can only play one song on the piano. He can’t read music very well, and he can’t improvise. So how did Jake get accepted to the Music and Art Academy? He faked it.

Alongside an eclectic group of academy classmates, and with advice from his best friend, Jake tries to fit in at a school where things like garbage sculpting and writing art reviews of bird poop splatter are the norm. All is well until Jake discovers that the end-of-the-semester talent show is only two weeks away, and Jake is short one very important thing…talent. Or is he? It’s up to Jake to either find the talent that lies within or embarrass himself in front of the entire school. Light and humorous, with Knight’s illustrations adding to the fun, Jake’s story will likely appeal to many middle-grade readers, especially those who might otherwise be reluctant to pick up a book. While the artsy antics may be over-the-top at times, this is a story about something that most preteens can relate to: the struggle to find your authentic self. And in a world filled with books about wanting to fit in with the athletically gifted supercliques, this novel unabashedly celebrates the artsy crowd in all of its quirky, creative glory.

A fast and funny alternative to the Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-52351-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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