Would that all teachers find the star-worthy within each of their students.

I WILL NEVER GET A STAR ON MRS. BENSON'S BLACKBOARD

A messy, daydreaming artist despairs of ever doing anything star-worthy in Mrs. Benson’s class.

But it’s not for lack of trying. She mishears the math problem she is supposed to solve on the board and just can’t find her “BIG voice” when she volunteers to read aloud. And spilling snack all over Mrs. Benson’s desk isn’t going to do the trick, either. The final straw for Rose is Mrs. Benson’s inspection of desks. Rose knows hers is the worst in the class, and the butterflies turn into a full-blown tummy ache as Mrs. Benson gets closer and closer. But she’s saved by the bell and manages to make it perfect before school the next day…only to have it undone by her artistic efforts. But that talent becomes the key to both her very own star and one for Mrs. Benson as well, for recognizing and celebrating Rose’s uniqueness. Mann’s ink, gouache, and digital collage illustrations play up the dichotomy between Rose, a pink-cheeked redhead with untied shoes, and Mrs. Benson, an older Caucasian woman with grayish hair in a bun. While readers will certainly empathize with Rose—her facial expressions and body posture make that easy—it’s difficult to see what they will take away from the story, as Rose is just herself throughout.

Would that all teachers find the star-worthy within each of their students. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6514-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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PUG BLASTS OFF

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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A strong, accessible diary story for readers seeking an adorable animal tale.

PUG'S SNOW DAY

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 2

Bub the anxious pug tackles snow days and new neighbors in his second outing.

Bub, acclaimed by some as “the cutest pug on the planet,” at first shares the enthusiasm owner Bella expresses about snow days even though he doesn’t know what they are. Then Duchess the cat (mildly antagonistic, in typical feline fashion) rains on Bub’s parade by pointing out that snow is water—and Bub’s no fan of rain or baths. After a comedic and disastrous first attempt, Bub learns how to properly dress for snow and enjoy it. The outdoor fun’s cut short by mysterious noises coming from the new neighbor, which frighten Bella into thinking there’s a monster. Bub puts on a Sherlock Holmes get-up to investigate but becomes afraid himself of the new neighbor’s large dog. Finally, Bella meets Jack, who’s been working on a tree fort, and his dog, Luna, who is enthusiastically friendly. The story ends on a positive note, as they all happily work together on the fort. The full-color cartoon illustrations, especially of Bub, are adorably expressive and certain to please the age group. The generous font and format—short, diary-entry paragraphs and speech-bubble conversations—create a quick pace. Bub’s stylized emoji bubbles return and are most hilarious when used to express his nervous flatulence. Bella and Jack both present white.

A strong, accessible diary story for readers seeking an adorable animal tale. (Fantasy. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53006-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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