Fans of the first should enjoy this second hijinks-filled outing of this school story/animal fantasy hybrid.

TWO DOGS IN A TRENCH COAT START A CLUB BY ACCIDENT

From the Two Dogs in a Trench Coat series , Vol. 2

Hounds Waldo and Sassy are now fully integrated into life at Bea Arthur Memorial Elementary School.

Disguised as human student Salty (who must be a very weird-looking child), the pooches love school. They love running fast in gym and singing in music class. Most of all they love the cafeteria; school lunch is the most delicious food imaginable. When their human boy, Stewart, joins the Junior Office Supply Enthusiasts, a club his paperclip-happy parents enjoyed in their youths, the dogs are a bit dismayed to find out that this club isn’t the kind you can eat, so Waldo and Sassy head to the cafeteria to play “lunch human” while they wait. It’s here they inadvertently start a club of their own. Can they convince Stewart, who doesn’t smell as though he enjoys his club, to resign and join theirs? What will his parents say? Young readers will get a kick out of the wordplay and the many puns, while the irony will induce plenty of eye-rolling among adults. The same playful design elements that distinguished the series opener are present: special typefaces indicate the dogs’ favorite foods and “Salty’s” dialogue. Human skin color isn’t called out within the text, but the familiar cartoonish black-and-white artwork shows a diverse cast of characters, led once again by white Stewart.

Fans of the first should enjoy this second hijinks-filled outing of this school story/animal fantasy hybrid. (Fantasy. 7-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-18953-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

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THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.

THE BAD GUYS

From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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