A fun-filled tale of high jinks and good intentions.

READ REVIEW

THE ADVENTURES OF ANNABELLE

ANNABELLE AND THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL

A brilliant plan to start summer early turns into chaos for one young pupil in this humorous debut children’s book. 

It’s the last day of school, and Annabelle can’t wait for that bell to ring at 4 o’clock. As she stares at the clock on the wall in her classroom, time is nearly standing still—how is it only 1 o’clock? Then, she has an idea—what happens if she, when the teacher, Miss Fletcher, is tending to the class gerbil, Ed, moves the hands of the clock to hit 4, triggering the bell and the rest of summer? It seems foolproof, but one thing goes wrong for Annabelle as she enacts her plan—she falls off her chair, landing smack on her face and drawing attention to herself from her teacher and the rest of the class. In the laughter and chaos, Ed escapes, sending everyone, including the principal, running through the halls searching for their rodent friend. Once the shenanigans die down and the end of the day arrives (for real), Annabelle’s teacher asks her to stay behind after school. She explains that Annabelle may have wanted to rush the summer, but she won’t see her friends until next year! In her yearning for school to be over, Annabelle didn’t realize this, and she leaves school with a newfound appreciation for all things academic. Most kids (and probably most adults) can certainly relate to Annabelle’s feeling that the last day of school will never end. Pernice captures Annabelle’s precociousness without making it obnoxious—to her, her plan seems foolproof, and it almost is, if not for that meddling gerbil. Through Annabelle’s lesson, readers will learn patience and gratitude. The rhyming sequences make this a fun read, and the vivid animations (also by Pernice) are fantastical and still realistic (especially Annabelle’s poster-filled bedroom). If Annabelle is to have more adventures, readers will assuredly line up for these sunny stories.

A fun-filled tale of high jinks and good intentions.

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2016

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 13

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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DIARY OF A WIMPY KID

A NOVEL IN CARTOONS

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 1

First volume of a planned three, this edited version of an ongoing online serial records a middle-school everykid’s triumphs and (more often) tribulations through the course of a school year. Largely through his own fault, mishaps seem to plague Greg at every turn, from the minor freak-outs of finding himself permanently seated in class between two pierced stoners and then being saddled with his mom for a substitute teacher, to being forced to wrestle in gym with a weird classmate who has invited him to view his “secret freckle.” Presented in a mix of legible “hand-lettered” text and lots of simple cartoon illustrations with the punch lines often in dialogue balloons, Greg’s escapades, unwavering self-interest and sardonic commentary are a hoot and a half—certain to elicit both gales of giggles and winces of sympathy (not to mention recognition) from young readers. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8109-9313-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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