Younger readers with intermediate reading skills may have fun with the silliness and the surprises. (Fiction. 7-10)


From the Marge in Charge series , Vol. 1

By the end of their first night with babysitter Marge, 7-year-old Jemima’s 4-year-old brother, Jake, says, “We have a royal babysitter…but we have to babysit her!”

There are three chapters: “Marge Babysits,” “Marge at the Birthday Party,” and “Marge at Large in School.” Black-and-white illustrations in a Quentin Blake–esque style show some children of diverse backgrounds, but the main characters are white, middle-class, British—and stereotypical to a fault. Jemima, who narrates in present tense, is the respectful, obedient older daughter, worried about meeting all the requirements on her mother’s to-do lists; about being on time; about socializing; about Jake’s obstreperous behavior, which she generously calls “naughty.” In the first story, tiny Marge manipulates Jake into doing two things left on Mommy’s list primarily because of Mommy’s ineptness (and Dad’s apparent abdication of parenting): eating broccoli and washing his hair. Marge’s methods range from telling outrageous tales of her supposed previous life as a royal duchess to helping the children create enormous messes in the kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms. When the mess still prevails with the parents five minutes away, there is no Cat in the Hat solution; somehow, the children manage to clean up while Marge falls asleep. Throughout the book, Marge vacillates between outlandish, sometimes-irresponsible behavior and jolly, imaginative storytelling and problem-solving.

Younger readers with intermediate reading skills may have fun with the silliness and the surprises. (Fiction. 7-10) (Fiction7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-266218-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse.


From the Yeti Files series , Vol. 1

It’s a Bigfeet family reunion!

Everyone’s favorite frosty, furry cryptid, the yeti, actually has a name: Blizz Richards. From his supersecret HQ in Nepal he keeps in touch with his fellow cryptids, all of whom have sworn an oath to keep themselves hidden. That’s not always easy, especially when there are cryptozoologists, like the nasty (but bumbling) George Vanquist, who are always trying to expose the secretive creatures. Vanquist got a picture of Blizz’s cousin Brian near his home in British Columbia, causing the mortified Brian to disappear entirely. When Blizz receives an invitation to a Bigfeet family reunion in Canada, he calls his buddies Alexander (one of Santa’s elves), Gunthar (a goblin) and Frank the Arctic fox to help him get ready. When they arrive in Canada, Brian is still nowhere to be seen. Can Blizz and his skunk ape and other sasquatch cousins find Brian, have the reunion and evade Vanquist? If anyone can, the Bigfeet clan can. Illustrator Sherry’s first volume in the Yeti Files is a fast and funny graphic-prose tale full of labeled pictures and comic-style panels. Those just starting chapter books may have some trouble with a few big words, but they’ll enjoy the big friendly monsters and immediately ask for the next tale—which looks to be about the Loch Ness monster.

Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-55617-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet!


From the Ryan Hart series , Vol. 1

Ryan Hart is navigating the fourth grade and all its challenges with determination.

Her mom named her Ryan because it means “king,” and she wanted Ryan to feel powerful every time she heard her name; Ryan knows it means she is a leader. So when changes occur or disaster strikes, budding chef Ryan does her best to find the positive and “make sunshine.” When her dad is laid off from the post office, the family must make adjustments that include moving into a smaller house, selling their car, and changing how they shop for groceries. But Ryan gets to stay at Vernon Elementary, and her mom still finds a way to get her the ingredients she needs to practice new recipes. Her older brother, Ray, can be bossy, but he finds little ways to support her, especially when she is down—as does the whole family. Each episodic chapter confronts Ryan with a situation; intermittently funny, frustrating, and touching, they should be familiar and accessible to readers, as when Ryan fumbles her Easter speech despite careful practice. Ryan, her family, and friends are Black, and Watson continues to bring visibility to both Portland, Oregon, generally and its Black community specifically, making another wonderful contribution that allows Black readers to see themselves and all readers to find a character they can love.

Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet! (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0056-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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