LOIS LANE AND THE FRIENDSHIP CHALLENGE

A young Lois Lane solves a mystery.

It’s the first day of 13-year-old Lois Lane’s summer vacation, and she has her sights set on creating a perfect viral video. Lois’ friend Kristen is a bit less focused on the task at hand, anxiously anticipating her departure for sleepaway camp. Kristen’s set to leave shortly after the annual neighborhood bike race—which may be the perfect backdrop for Lois’ #FriendshipChallenge video. But when the fireworks for the post–bike race barbecue go missing, Lois and Kristen take up the case, investigating the new girl on the block and the proprietor of the fancy new bike shop. Lois’ first mystery is composed with energetic panel work and dynamic compositions, colored with deep greens, blues, and purples. The central mystery is a bit routine, but the outcome shades the central friendship between Kristen and Lois in a pleasant-enough way to make the enterprise seem worthwhile. Hardcore DC fans may be a bit disappointed: There’s very little branded content to be had here—no hints at Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, etc. This is Lois Lane’s story, and while it may not work as an introduction to the hero-filled universe, it works wonderfully as a celebration of the character’s pluck and can-do attitude. Lois and Kristen both present white, but there’s significant diversity among the supporting cast.

A nifty starter mystery. (Graphic mystery. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4012-9637-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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Fans of the series will be delighted.

CLASH

From the Click series , Vol. 4

Can Olive stay positive when a social-climbing bully moves to town?

In her fourth adventure, sixth grader Olive Branche is on top of the world until new girl Natasha begins to encroach on her friendships, slowly and methodically freezing her out of her many different social circles. Relentlessly optimistic Olive tries to stay genial despite Nat’s overt jibes, but when Nat takes it to a new level and ruins Olive’s carefully planned Halloween party, Olive finally confronts her. When Nat finds herself consequently ostracized, empathetic Olive has a change of heart and extends her an olive branch (groan). Olive and Nat’s relationship is highly idealized, bordering almost on wish fulfillment; Nat’s backstory offers some explanation for her behavior, but she is accepted back into the fold more easily than may seem realistic. Olive’s appeal is in her unceasing Pollyanna-like sunniness and her ability to be accommodating and find the best in every situation. Though consistent in tone with its predecessors, in this entry Olive does have some moments of anger (albeit quickly reconciled); her portrayal here is the most human she’s been throughout the series. Although this is the fourth installment, each volume is mostly self-contained, making this equally accessible for established and new readers. Olive and Nat read as White; the supporting cast is inclusive and diverse.

Fans of the series will be delighted. (Halloween costume craft ideas, author Q&A) (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-24220-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Etch/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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A deceptively simple, tender tale in which respect, resilience, and hope triumph.

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WISHTREE

Generations of human and animal families grow and change, seen from the point of view of the red oak Wishing Tree that shelters them all.

Most trees are introverts at heart. So says Red, who is over 200 years old and should know. Not to mention that they have complicated relationships with humans. But this tree also has perspective on its animal friends and people who live within its purview—not just witnessing, but ultimately telling the tales of young people coming to this country alone or with family. An Irish woman named Maeve is the first, and a young 10-year-old Muslim girl named Samar is the most recent. Red becomes the repository for generations of wishes; this includes both observing Samar’s longing wish and sporting the hurtful word that another young person carves into their bark as a protest to Samar’s family’s presence. (Red is monoecious, they explain, with both male and female flowers.) Newbery medalist Applegate succeeds at interweaving an immigrant story with an animated natural world and having it all make sense. As Red observes, animals compete for resources just as humans do, and nature is not always pretty or fair or kind. This swiftly moving yet contemplative read is great for early middle grade, reluctant or tentative readers, or precocious younger students.

A deceptively simple, tender tale in which respect, resilience, and hope triumph. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-04322-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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