Nick and Nora they’re not, but Wallace and Grace are a good team for the younger set.

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WALLACE AND GRACE TAKE THE CASE

From the Wallace and Grace series , Vol. 1

A new chapter-book series for young mystery fans kicks off.

Wallace and Grace are partners in the Night Owl Detective Agency. Wallace is a fairly typical brown owl, but Grace is adorned with a shiny gold necklace and a red-and-white bow. “Grace liked to use big words.” Her vocabulary is extensive, including “quandary,” “investigate,” and “courageous,” and is explained in the text. Occasional puns may make adults groan, but kids will laugh: “Wallace and Grace always found out whooo-done-it!” Their first case involves Edgar the rabbit. He sees a ghost who makes spooky noises in the garden. The owls listen to his description, make notes, and hold a brief conference to decide whether to take the case. The two use their owlish abilities, things that Edgar can’t do, like spying things in the distance and twisting their heads around to look in both directions. They soon realize that the ghost is a sheet from the clothesline, stolen by Mother Cat to “keep her kittens cozy,” and the spooky noise is the mewing of the kittens. The mystery is simple, and the male and female partners invite interest across a broad readership. The language is accessible, and full-color cartoonish illustrations, created with pencil and Photoshop (a mix of whole-page and smaller vignettes), throughout the book are a change from many black-and-white chapter books.

Nick and Nora they’re not, but Wallace and Grace are a good team for the younger set. (Mystery. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 23, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61963-988-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination.

TOO MANY CARROTS

When Rabbit’s unbridled mania for collecting carrots leaves him unable to sleep in his cozy burrow, other animals offer to put him up.

But to Rabbit, their homes are just more storage space for carrots: Tortoise’s overstuffed shell cracks open; the branch breaks beneath Bird’s nest; Squirrel’s tree trunk topples over; and Beaver’s bulging lodge collapses at the first rainstorm. Impelled by guilt and the epiphany that “carrots weren’t for collecting—they were for SHARING!” Rabbit invites his newly homeless friends into his intact, and inexplicably now-roomy, burrow for a crunchy banquet. This could be read (with some effort) as a lightly humorous fable with a happy ending, and Hudson’s depictions of carrot-strewn natural scenes, of Rabbit as a plush bunny, and of the other animals as, at worst, mildly out of sorts support that take. Still, the insistent way Rabbit keeps forcing himself on his friends and the magnitude of the successive disasters may leave even less-reflective readers disturbed. Moreover, as Rabbit is never seen actually eating a carrot, his stockpiling looks a lot like the sort of compulsive hoarding that, in humans, is regarded as a mental illness.

Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62370-638-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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