Stuey’s fans will be crossing their fingers for a sequel. (Fiction. 6-9)

READ REVIEW

THE ONE AND ONLY STUEY LEWIS

STORIES FROM THE SECOND GRADE

Stuey Lewis is filled with angst about reading, Halloween, soccer and one annoying classmate in this big-hearted tale of second grade.

Stuey is a regular second grader. That means he worries about everything. Stuey’s dad no longer lives with them, brother Anthony is a soccer prodigy and a bossy classmate keeps him on edge. These anxieties formed the core of linked short stories, told by Stuey himself, which chronicle the changes his second-grade year brings. Stuey’s best friend Will is a “reading monster,” which makes Stuey feel bad that he is not yet ready to plow through a pile of chapter books. He keeps waiting for the reading light to turn on, but it isn’t happening fast enough. How can Stuey possibly measure up to Anthony if he goes out for "bitty league soccer"? It's even worse when he realizes the awful Lilly is on his team! Natural dialogue and believable school situations capture the drama of second grade, gently showing readers that things will get better. Occasional black-and-white illustrations add another humorous touch that new readers will appreciate. By the time the year is over, Stuey is no longer feigning illness to get out of school and is even looking forward to another year with beloved teacher Ms. Curtis, who is moving up with this winning class.

Stuey’s fans will be crossing their fingers for a sequel. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: July 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-37292-7

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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