Girls who love sparkles could do far worse than to spend time with these appealing performers.


From the Amazing Stardust Friends series , Vol. 2

The Stardust Girls return for a second circus-friendship tale.

The introductory title, Step into the Spotlight! (2014), centered on newcomer Marlo and her acceptance by circus girls Allie, Bella and Carly and their circle of friends. This title switches focus to Mexican-American Allie, short for Alejandra, a trapeze artist with dreams of television fame. These aspirations are stoked by the appearance of a TV producer and cameraman on the Stardust Circus train, there to shoot footage for a behind-the-scenes special. Allie’s machinations to draw their attention threaten her friendships and even her life, when she switches leotards in order to stand out among her blue-costumed family during a show. Once again, Alexander sets recognizable early-elementary dilemmas against an alluring backdrop for a story that feels both familiar and exotic at the same time. Allie’s delusions of greatness are completely on target for an 8-year-old; while readers will see that she has no chance at TV stardom, they will also empathize with her intense desires. Le Feyer’s grayscale illustrations (two to three to a double-page spread) break up the text for new chapter-book readers while also developing characters, working with the text to create a convincingly multiethnic circus community.

Girls who love sparkles could do far worse than to spend time with these appealing performers. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-75755-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization.


If Pluto can’t be a planet—then what is he?

Having been a regular planet for “the better part of forever,” Pluto is understandably knocked out of orbit by his sudden exclusion. With Charon and his four other moons in tow he sets off in search of a new identity. Unfortunately, that only spins him into further gloom, as he doesn’t have a tail like his friend Halley’s comet, is too big to join Ida and the other asteroids, and feels disinclined to try to crash into Earth like meteoroids Gem and Persi. Then, just as he’s about to plunge into a black hole of despair, an encounter with a whole quartet of kindred spheroids led by Eris rocks his world…and a follow-up surprise party thrown by an apologetic Saturn (“Dwarf planet has a nice RING to it”) and the other seven former colleagues literally puts him “over the moon.” Demmer gives all the heavenly bodies big eyes (some, including the feminine Saturn, with long lashes) and, on occasion, short arms along with distinctive identifying colors or markings. Dressing the troublemaking meteoroids in do-rags and sunglasses sounds an off note. Without mentioning that the reclassification is still controversial, Wade closes with a (somewhat) straighter account of Pluto’s current official status and the reasons for it.

Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-004-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet



From the Ballpark Mysteries series , Vol. 1

A new series for emerging chapter-book readers combines the allure of baseball parks with the challenge of solving a mystery. Mike and Kate have tickets to a Red Sox game and an all-access pass to the park, courtesy of Kate's mom, a sportswriter. The pass comes in handy when it's reported that star player Big D's lucky bat has been stolen, as it allows them to help find the thief. Historical details about Fenway Park, including the secret code found on the manual scoreboard, a look at Wally the mascot and a peek into the gift shop, will keep the young baseball fan reading, even when the actual mystery of the missing bat falls a little flat. Writing mysteries for very young readers is a challenge—the puzzle has to be easy enough to solve while sustaining readers' interest. This slight adventure is more baseball-park travel pamphlet than mystery, a vehicle for providing interesting details about one of the hallowed halls of baseball. Not a homerun, but certainly a double for the young enthusiast. On deck? The Pinstripe Ghost, also out on Feb. 22, 2011. (historical notes) (Mystery. 6-9)



Pub Date: Feb. 22, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-86703-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet