From the Ugly Cat & Pablo series , Vol. 2

With lots of talk about farts, some grossness, a good bit of silliness, and loyalty to friends and family as the central...

Ugly Cat and Pablo are back following series opener Ugly Cat & Pablo (2017); this time they are on a mission to find Tamarindo, Ugly Cat’s missing brother.

When Ugly Cat realizes he hasn’t seen his brother in a couple of weeks he jumps to all sorts of unlikely conclusions. The favored hypothesis? That he’s been taken by a chaneque—a mythical creature in Mexican folklore that lures children with his flute playing. On a tip from a hamster that lives in Tamarindo’s house, the unlikely cat and mouse duo set off on a rescue mission to a haunted house. With the help of friends and some “killer cucarachas,” Tamarindo’s whereabouts are soon discovered. In the end, all is happily resolved, with no ghosts or chaneques involved. Knight’s illustrations contribute to the silliness. His depiction of Pablo wearing a makeshift raincoat fashioned out of an old lunch bag is priceless. The visual fun gets a further boost by the distinctive typeface given to each protagonist. As with the first book, there is a liberal amount of Spanish sprinkled throughout the text, but a glossary at the end of the book is there for those who need a little help.

With lots of talk about farts, some grossness, a good bit of silliness, and loyalty to friends and family as the central theme, there is everything to like in this addition to the series. (recipe) (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 29, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-545-94096-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018


From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

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

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


From the Zara's Rules series , Vol. 1

A charming contemporary story with a classic feel.

A 10 ¾-year-old girl weathers changes in her social circle—and her sense of self.

Dubbed “Queen of the Neighborhood” by beloved neighbor Mr. Chapman, who has sadly left Maryland for balmy Florida, Zara is apprehensive when a family with two kids moves into his house, potentially upsetting the delicate social balance. Readers familiar with Khan’s Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream books, set a few years after this series opener, will recognize the bustling Pakistani American Muslim household. Assertive, organized Zara and rambunctious 7-year-old Zayd live with their Mama and Baba; the siblings’ grandparents and uncle are integral parts of their daily lives. Zara and Zayd enjoy playing outside with their friends—Black sisters Jade and Gloria, White Alan, and Chinese American Melvin. Mr. Chapman always said that Zara knew how to “rule with grace and fairness,” but new arrivals Naomi and Michael, Jewish kids who are eager to engage socially, put this to the test. When Jamal Mamoo, Mama’s brother, brings over his Guinness World Records book, Zara decides that becoming a world-record holder is the boost her social status needs. Her humorous (and futile) attempts to make her mark ultimately lead her to being a more patient and understanding big sister and more flexible and supportive companion to friends old and new. Strong pacing, fluid prose, engaging hijinks, and heartwarming scenes of family life and outdoor play are complemented by expressive illustrations.

A charming contemporary story with a classic feel. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-9759-7

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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