Just right for aspiring pet owners.

READ REVIEW

THE NO-DOGS-ALLOWED RULE

Third-grader Ishan Mehra wages a successful campaign to repeal his mother's no-dogs-allowed rule by gently introducing her to a neighbor's dog. 

Ishan’s original plan is to win his mother over by being especially nice and helpful. But things go wrong. His cooking makes a mess, his hall-painting makes a bigger one, and the sculpture he and his friends make with the desserts at a large community party is a big mistake. But when an elderly neighbor faints, Ishan has the presence of mind to call 9-1-1 and is allowed to keep the man’s dog for a few days—time enough to help his mother get over her childhood fears. Sheth’s first novel for younger readers (Boys Without Names, 2010, etc.) features a likable, determined protagonist, gentle humor and a familiar family situation. Hindi words and details of Indian-American culture—especially the food—are woven into the story, always with an explanation. The first-person, present-tense narration includes short paragraphs, ample dialogue and illustrations every few pages (final art not seen). While the multicultural aspect of this title is important, its real strength is the familiarity of Ishan’s situation. Elementary school readers will find it easy to identify with both his younger-brother troubles and his desperate desire for a dog.

Just right for aspiring pet owners. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8075-5694-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for...

DOG DAYS

From the Carver Chronicles series , Vol. 1

A gentle voice and familiar pitfalls characterize this tale of a boy navigating the risky road to responsibility. 

Gavin is new to his neighborhood and Carver Elementary. He likes his new friend, Richard, and has a typically contentious relationship with his older sister, Danielle. When Gavin’s desire to impress Richard sets off a disastrous chain of events, the boy struggles to evade responsibility for his actions. “After all, it isn’t his fault that Danielle’s snow globe got broken. Sure, he shouldn’t have been in her room—but then, she shouldn’t be keeping candy in her room to tempt him. Anybody would be tempted. Anybody!” opines Gavin once he learns the punishment for his crime. While Gavin has a charming Everyboy quality, and his aversion to Aunt Myrtle’s yapping little dog rings true, little about Gavin distinguishes him from other trouble-prone protagonists. He is, regrettably, forgettable. Coretta Scott King Honor winner English (Francie, 1999) is a teacher whose storytelling usually benefits from her day job. Unfortunately, the pizzazz of classroom chaos is largely absent from this series opener.

This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for subsequent volumes. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-97044-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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