An easy-to-read, heartwarming lesson in trust-building.


A homeless dog transforms a neighborhood.

When a skinny, filthy dog suddenly appears, next-door neighbors Sam and Katie immediately notice. They watch her get shooed out of the Wilson sisters’ flower garden. They see the Tracy twins (the biggest, meanest kids in their grade) throwing rocks and chasing her on their bikes. As Sam and Katie search everywhere for the dog, the Tracy twins are also looking for her. Discovering the dog asleep under a table Sam’s father just painted blue, Sam and Katie are inexplicably spurred to paint a blue daisy on her back, prompting neighbors to take notice and call her Blue Daisy. Sam and Katie feel Blue Daisy should be their dog since they’re “the ones who like her best,” but they also feel guilty about painting her. They don’t understand why Blue Daisy prefers the Tracy twins, but those mean kids have somehow earned her trust. In alternating voices, Sam and Katie tell the story of how Blue Daisy finds a home and how they find new friends, with Sam speaking in verse, Katie in prose in a different typeset; speech in both portions is indicated by italics rather than quotation marks. Black-and-white illustrations capture key events and depict most core characters with pale skin; a recipe section includes a couple of Blue Daisy’s favorite treats.

An easy-to-read, heartwarming lesson in trust-building. (recipes; author’s note) (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4414-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.


From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look...


Winning actually isn’t everything, as jazz-happy Rooster learns when he goes up against the legendary likes of Mules Davis and Ella Finchgerald at the barnyard talent show.

Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look good—particularly after his “ ‘Hen from Ipanema’ [makes] / the barnyard chickies swoon.”—but in the end the competition is just too stiff. No matter: A compliment from cool Mules and the conviction that he still has the world’s best band soon puts the strut back in his stride. Alexander’s versifying isn’t always in tune (“So, he went to see his cousin, / a pianist of great fame…”), and despite his moniker Rooster plays an electric bass in Bower’s canted country scenes. Children are unlikely to get most of the jokes liberally sprinkled through the text, of course, so the adults sharing it with them should be ready to consult the backmatter, which consists of closing notes on jazz’s instruments, history and best-known musicians.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58536-688-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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