MARTIN BRIDGE: READY FOR TAKEOFF!

Aimed at “Horrible Harry” fans, but a cut above in content, these three domestic episodes weigh in with some unusually meaty insights. First, young Martin sees a special gift intended for someone else work a miraculous change in the disposition of his surly school bus driver; then, troubled by a neighbor’s request to replace in secret her small daughter’s dead hamster, he starts to wonder whether his own parents lie to him sometimes; and finally, feeling that he’s not getting proper credit for suggesting that his friend Alex paint flames on a widely admired model rocket, Martin goes into a snit—but only until he figures out that a good friend is worth a little give and take. Pale ink-and-wash sketches on every spread nicely capture Martin’s changing moods and close family relations. Fledgling chapter-book readers of a reflective bent will appreciate Kerrin’s way of delivering life lessons without hammering them home. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-55337-688-9

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2005

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DAVID GOES TO SCHOOL

The poster boy for relentless mischief-makers everywhere, first encountered in No, David! (1998), gives his weary mother a rest by going to school. Naturally, he’s tardy, and that’s but the first in a long string of offenses—“Sit down, David! Keep your hands to yourself! PAY ATTENTION!”—that culminates in an afterschool stint. Children will, of course, recognize every line of the text and every one of David’s moves, and although he doesn’t exhibit the larger- than-life quality that made him a tall-tale anti-hero in his first appearance, his round-headed, gap-toothed enthusiasm is still endearing. For all his disruptive behavior, he shows not a trace of malice, and it’ll be easy for readers to want to encourage his further exploits. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-48087-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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HOW TO BE COOL IN THE THIRD GRADE

Robbie's somewhat overstated aim is to create a new image for himself by taking steps like avoiding his mother's company on the way to the bus stop each morning, trading in his superhero underwear for plain white, and getting jeans. If his goals seem small and unassuming, so is Robbie; and his solutions—in one instance, simply asking his mother for what he wants instead of expecting her to mind-read—are ingenuously on target. But though Duffey is well tuned in to third-grade cool, she includes a stereotypical bully, held back a year and ready to tangle with anyone who looks at him the wrong way; worse, references to coolness and what kind of year Robbie is having are annoyingly repetitious. Nevertheless, modest aspirations mean modest rewards: readers Robbie's age will be glad to find their own concerns on nearly every page. Illustrations not seen. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-670-84798-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1993

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