Children may notice that the adults reading with them are weeping—a history lesson and conversation starter in one book.

THE ELEVENTH HOUR

Two Canadian friends, one born just two minutes after the other, go to the Western Front.

Goldstyn’s amusing cartoons develop the two boys’ friendship, one in which Jules is “always two minutes behind Jim,” but no matter: “Jules looked up to Jim, and Jim looked out for Jules.” When war breaks out, Jules and Jim enlist, Jules, always a bit late, stuck with a uniform that doesn’t quite fit and crossing the Atlantic in an old ship that’s seen better days. “Jules and Jim had imagined war to be full of epic battles and glorious charges,” but they soon realize trench warfare is anything but. (A magnified louse makes this perfectly clear.) This extra-long picture book is related in a wry, matter-of-fact tone that lets Goldstyn’s watercolors arc shells across the gutter, back and forth, explosive violence alternating with vignettes that depict increasing hardship for everyone. In its compact, elliptical way, it’s an extremely effective narrative of World War I, always grounded in its two protagonists. Jim is decorated, while Jules, always late, peels potatoes. An armistice is signed and a cease-fire designated at 11:00 on Nov. 11—but at 10:58 Jim goes over the top and is killed, the illustrations confronting this violence clearly. Home without his friend, Jules becomes a watchmaker, and all his timepieces run two minutes slow. Jim and Jules are both white, as are their fellow soldiers and adversaries.

Children may notice that the adults reading with them are weeping—a history lesson and conversation starter in one book. (author’s note) (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77147-348-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A nice and timely depiction of an immigrant child experience.

STELLA DÍAZ HAS SOMETHING TO SAY

From the Stella Díaz series , Vol. 1

Speaking up is hard when you’re shy, and it can be even harder if you’ve got two languages in your head.

Third-grader Estrella “Stella” Díaz, is a shy, Mexican-American girl who draws pictures and loves fish, and she lives in Chicago with her mother and older brother, Nick. Jenny, Stella’s best friend, isn’t in her class this year, and Stella feels lonely—especially when she sees that Vietnamese-American Jenny is making new friends. When a new student, Stanley Mason, arrives in her class, Stella introduces herself in Spanish to the white former Texan without realizing it and becomes embarrassed. Surely Stanley won’t want to befriend her after that—but he seems to anyway. Stella often confuses the pronunciation between English and Spanish sounds and takes speech classes. As an immigrant with a green card—a “legal alien,” according to her teacher—Stella feels that she doesn’t fully belong to either American culture or Mexican culture, and this is nicely reflected in her not being fully comfortable in either language, an experience familiar to many immigrant and first-generation children. This early-middle-grade book features italicized Spanish words and phrases with direct translations right after. There is a small subplot about bullying from Stella’s classmate, and readers will cheer as they see how, with the help of her friends and family, Stella overcomes her shyness and gives a presentation on Jacques Cousteau. Dominguez’s friendly black-and-white drawings grace most pages.

A nice and timely depiction of an immigrant child experience. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-858-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

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. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more