Lap readers and independent readers alike will be drawn to this book’s cartoonish illustrations and inclusive message.

Little Jimmy Says, "Same Is Lame"

In this children’s celebration of diversity, 5-foot-tall marketing expert Vee shows children that their differences can also be their strengths.

Little Jimmy, the author’s cartoon stand-in, is “unusually small,” but he doesn’t mind. “Each person is different,” he assures young readers, before going on to share how being short, tall, bespectacled, big, bald, large-nosed or scarred can be beneficial in life. He also highlights learned skills: “I can talk without moving my lips. / That’s what makes me a ventriloquist! / It is a thing that most people can’t do… / And something that makes me unusual too.” The book also touches on race as a quality that can make readers unique, although this aspect isn’t emphasized. The cartoonish illustrations show a multiethnic cast of various sizes and shapes, as befits the narrative, and Motz’s art style is sure to appeal to young readers. Although the rhymes are occasionally clunky,they flow well when read aloud. Problematically, however, Vee uses the word “lame,” which could refer to disability, as a negative. Also, at one point, a boy initially appears darkly scarred, but his injury is downplayed in a later illustration, after he becomes famous. However, these minor flaws don’t undermine the overall message. The book includes a page for young readers to write down “what’s unique about you,” and uses some vocabulary words, such as “ventriloquist” and “exploit,” clearly enough in context that independent readers should be able to gather their meanings. The book also encourages readers to learn about Vee’s Same Is Lame Foundation, at the author’s website.

Lap readers and independent readers alike will be drawn to this book’s cartoonish illustrations and inclusive message.

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0985478223

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atlas Press

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2014

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A witty addition to the long-running series.


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 15

The Wimpy Kid hits the road.

The Heffley clan has been stuck living together in Gramma’s basement for two months, waiting for the family home to be repaired, and the constant togetherness has been getting on everybody’s nerves. Luckily Greg’s Uncle Gary has a camper waiting for someone to use it, and so the Heffleys set off on the open road looking for an adventurous vacation, hoping the changing scenery will bring a spark back to the family unit. The winding road leads the Heffleys to a sprawling RV park, a setting teeming with possibilities for Greg to get up to his usual shenanigans. Greg’s snarky asides and misadventures continue to entertain. At this point the Wimpy Kid books run like a well-oiled machine, paced perfectly with witty lines, smart gags, and charming cartoons. Kinney knows just where to put a joke, the precise moment to give a character shading, and exactly how to get the narrative rolling, spinning out the oddest plot developments. The appreciation Kinney has for these characters seeps through the novels, endearing the Heffleys to readers even through this title, the 15th installment in a franchise boasting spinoffs, movies, and merchandise. There may come a time when Greg and his family overstay their welcome, but thankfully that day still seems far off.

A witty addition to the long-running series. (Humor. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4868-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder.

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After being home-schooled for years, Auggie Pullman is about to start fifth grade, but he’s worried: How will he fit into middle school life when he looks so different from everyone else?

Auggie has had 27 surgeries to correct facial anomalies he was born with, but he still has a face that has earned him such cruel nicknames as Freak, Freddy Krueger, Gross-out and Lizard face. Though “his features look like they’ve been melted, like the drippings on a candle” and he’s used to people averting their eyes when they see him, he’s an engaging boy who feels pretty ordinary inside. He’s smart, funny, kind and brave, but his father says that having Auggie attend Beecher Prep would be like sending “a lamb to the slaughter.” Palacio divides the novel into eight parts, interspersing Auggie’s first-person narrative with the voices of family members and classmates, wisely expanding the story beyond Auggie’s viewpoint and demonstrating that Auggie’s arrival at school doesn’t test only him, it affects everyone in the community. Auggie may be finding his place in the world, but that world must find a way to make room for him, too.

A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder. (Fiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86902-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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