Another romp full of zesty, true-life fun. (Fiction. 7-10)



From the Dessert series , Vol. 3

Lively third-grader Dessert returns for more comic classroom and family fun as she learns to cope with jealousy in her third outing (Just Desserts, 2010, etc.). 

Dessert certainly doesn’t lack confidence. She’s sure she’ll easily win the prize for the best invention in her classroom’s Thomas Edison unit. At home, however, things don’t look as promising. Her mom spends all of her time with her two baby brothers and barely notices Dessert, while her dad concentrates on managing the family’s restaurant, devoted entirely to fondue. As her despair at home increases, her certainty that she’ll win the classroom prize increases, especially when she privately judges her classmate’s inventions as obviously inferior to her own Vending Dresser, which would dispense a full month’s worth of complete daily outfits at the mere press of a button. If she doesn’t win, however, this fully realized, vivacious little character might learn some important lessons beyond those her teacher, Mrs. Howdy Doody, includes in the curriculum. When Dessert’s mom forgets to pick her up at school, some family lessons may make Dessert feel much better, especially as she gets to eat real dessert—first!—at the family restaurant. Davenier’s sparkling line drawings help young readers visualize the action.

Another romp full of zesty, true-life fun. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: June 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0360-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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Calvin continues to charm.


From the Calvin Coconut series , Vol. 8

When Calvin Coconut's father schedules a concert in Oahu to promote his popular new album, Rocket Ride, Calvin is nervous and excited to see him for the first time in four years.

This is the eighth offering in a highly entertaining, heartfelt series. As in previous story arcs, Calvin must contend with a bully, Tito, whose obnoxious behavior often creates quandaries for Calvin as he squares off against him, which he does even as he realistically quakes in his boots. This installment is no exception—Tito initially ridicules a girl at school for liking Calvin's dad's music, but that doesn't stop him from later demanding that Calvin score him a ticket for the sold-out show. In a touching turn of events, normally antagonistic Stella, a teen friend of the family who lives with them, shares a bit about her own background to bolster Calvin's spirits. The main event is Calvin's reunion with his father. His dad is contrite, committing to make a change in order to see Calvin and his sister more often. Calvin feels good about this promise and feels immediate warmth toward Marissa, his dad’s new wife. The ease with which everyone accepts one another in Calvin’s family is remarkable, at times perhaps a touch unbelievable. Yet this story is also replete with strengths—funny, genuine dialogue, multidimensional characters and well-paced plotting, to name a few.

Calvin continues to charm. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-73965-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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An unusual valentine, depicting with seeming simplicity a profound but not demonstrative attachment.


Delessert’s loving portrait of Eglantine Besson, the woman who was, as he puts it, “my real mom.”

His sparely told reminiscence begins with a first meeting at 2 1/2, when she was hired to be a caregiver in the wake of his birth mother’s death. Along with imparting her love of stories and books, he recalls a lifetime of laughter and hugs (“All my friends wanted a mom just like mine”). There were also occasional arguments, during one of which she threw a drinking glass that, unbroken, still sits on his drawing table filled with brushes and memories. Both that glass and his mother are drawn with softened edges and surfaces but a formidable, monumental solidity in the illustrations. The relationship as depicted seems to have been a loving but not intimate one; narrative claim notwithstanding, there is no hugging or laughter to be seen in the art. Aside from one craggy, introspective final portrait (“Eglantine lived to be 92. Until the end, she relished smoking little cigars”), the later pictures are all of objects or of figures significantly posed facing in different directions. Still, the author’s warm feelings come across as deep and genuine.

An unusual valentine, depicting with seeming simplicity a profound but not demonstrative attachment. (Picture book. 7-10, adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56846-257-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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