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

READ REVIEW

MARGE IN CHARGE

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

In all, it's an unsuccessful follow-up to Weeks' Pie (2011), but word-loving Melody is appealing, and her appended list of...

HONEY

Melody Bishop's peaceful life with her widower father is upset when the annoying 6-year-old next door comes home from the beauty parlor with some gossip.

The 10-year-old has already noticed her father's increased distraction and a new tendency to whistle, so when Teeny Nelson reports that "Henry's been bitten by the love bug," Melody is avid to know more. With her best friend, biracial Nick Woo, at her side, she goes to the Bee Hive beauty salon to investigate. What she discovers there rocks her world not once but twice, as salon owner Bee-Bee has information about Melody's mother, who died in childbirth and about whom her father never speaks. Weeks gets the small moments right: Melody's exasperation with Teeny and the way it turns to sympathy when the little girl's mother threatens a spanking; her affectionate resignation when her grandfather, who has emphysema, sneaks out to the garage for a smoke. And Melody's close relationship with her loving father is sweetly evoked. But other elements fail to cohere. Obvious misdirection leads Melody to a critical misunderstanding that never amounts to more than a plot contrivance, and the mystical visions of Bee-Bee's dog, Mo, who has an unknown connection to Melody, strain credulity.

In all, it's an unsuccessful follow-up to Weeks' Pie (2011), but word-loving Melody is appealing, and her appended list of nail-polish colors is somewhat amusing. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-46557-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

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

WAYS TO MAKE SUNSHINE

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more