A delightful follow-up from a writer who understands children, family, and culture.

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ON POINT

From the Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream series , Vol. 2

In this second installment of the Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream series, Zayd navigates challenging times on his new basketball team and changing relationships with both his best friend and his favorite uncle.

Pakistani-American fourth-grader Zayd has made it to the elite gold team, but now the team is losing games. His best friend, Adam, whom Zayd loves playing with, is losing interest in basketball and is acting different. Zayd’s uncle Mamoo is also less fun to be around; he’s at the center of plans for his upcoming wedding, which is all anyone at home talks about. The family holds planning meetings and dinners, and they travel out of state to shop for the wedding in Edison, a “Little Pakistan”–like town in New Jersey. When Adam misses basketball practice, the coach puts Zayd on point guard. Zayd is not sure he can do it, but the harder he works, the more his confidence and abilities grow. He even shares some lessons from basketball with his uncle and soon-to-be aunt about taking charge while being a team player. Khan stays firmly in Zayd’s perspective while keeping the many elements of his life—family, friends, and passions—in focus too. With just enough action to keep readers turning the pages and a sprinkle of age-appropriate realizations throughout, this small book is a great pick for elementary-age readers. Players on Zayd’s team are diverse; Adam is Jewish.

A delightful follow-up from a writer who understands children, family, and culture. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 29, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1202-6

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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Wholesome, uncomplicated fare for the younger Matt Christopher crowd.

THE MISSING BASEBALL

From the Zach and Zoe Mysteries series , Vol. 1

Lupica kicks off a new series starring a pair of 8-year-old twins who solve sports-themed mysteries.

Even the pleasures of competing in various events during his school’s Spirit Week dim a smidge for Zach Walker when the prized autographed baseball he brings to his third-grade class for show and tell vanishes. Happily, his bookish but equally sports-loving sister, Zoe, is on the case, and by the time of the climactic baseball game at week’s end, she has pieced together clues and deductions that lead to the lost treasure—which had not been stolen but batted through an open window by the teacher’s cat and stashed in a storage shed by the custodian. In the co-published sequel, The Half-Court Hero, the equally innocuous conundrum hangs on the identity of the mysterious “guardian angel” who is fixing up a run-down playground basketball court. Along with plenty of suspenseful sports action, the author highlights in both tales the values of fair play, teamwork, and doing the “right thing.” The Walker family presents white, but in both the narrative and Danger’s appropriately bland (if inappropriately static) illustrations, the supporting cast shows some racial and ethnic diversity.

Wholesome, uncomplicated fare for the younger Matt Christopher crowd. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-425-28936-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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Not up to the original—leave it on the shelf and find a recording of the real Abbott and Costello.

WHO'S ON FIRST?

One of the funniest comedy routines ever to be heard doesn’t successfully translate to print although nearly every word is intact.

Abbott appears as a red-nosed bear, and Costello is a hapless rabbit, with both creatures dressed in striped shirts and red baseball caps. The dialogue is variously presented in word bubbles, boxes or “shouted” in explosive, full-page format, with all the text in sizes appropriate to the characters’ levels of frustration. Superbright green, yellow, red and blue backgrounds make it all pop. But in book form, the dialogue comes off as merely amusing rather than laugh-out-loud funny, partly since in its original form it was completely auditory. The two men delivered the lines in fast-paced, smartly timed patter with voice inflections indicating annoyance, anger, impatience or resignation. The fun was in the misunderstanding of the wordplay. While Martz’s cartoon animals indicate their emotions in their body language and facial expressions, it’s just a little flat. In addition, depicting each player as an animal (Who is a snake, What is a dog, etc.) makes it possible for readers to actually visualize a “real” team and diminishes the wordplay. To work at all, it must be read aloud in two distinct, enthusiastic voices so young readers can share the experience.

Not up to the original—leave it on the shelf and find a recording of the real Abbott and Costello.   (afterword, biographical notes) (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59474-590-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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