Showing no signs of fatigue, the Regarding series hums into its fifth episode amid the usual bustle of angst-ridden subplots, crossed purposes, shady goings-on and painless pedagogy. The busy seventh graders of Geyser Creek Middle School face two sticky challenges before first semester break: the statewide, Show-Me Spelling Bee and the Basic Education Evaluation test (BEE), failure in which entails demotion to fifth grade. Fortunately, their teacher is none other than queen bee Florence Waters. Unfortunately, she’s teaching in absentia, mailing in assignments, advice and the occasional buzzing box as she flits around the world. This premise suits the epistolary format (supplemented by pen-and-ink vignettes, a sign-language alphabet and teacher’s desk tableaus) bee-utifully, while making for plenty of misunderstandings and comical complications. Meanwhile, waxy buildup has come between substitute Principal Sam N. and his expecting wife Goldie Fish-N., the traditional seventh-grade New Year’s Eve Dance may be cancelled and is there some c-h-e-a-t-i-n-g going on with the reigning spelling champs of rival teacher Polly Nader? Yes, as it turns out, but the Klises ultimately dish out just deserts all round, along with sweet dollops of bee lore and life coaching. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-15-205711-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2007

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McDonald’s irrepressible third-grader (Judy Moody Gets Famous, 2001, etc.) takes a few false steps before hitting full stride. This time, not only has her genius little brother Stink submitted a competing entry in the Crazy Strips Band-Aid design contest, but in the wake of her science teacher’s heads-up about rainforest destruction and endangered animals, she sees every member of her family using rainforest products. It’s all more than enough to put her in a Mood, which gets her in trouble at home for letting Stink’s pet toad, Toady, go free, and at school for surreptitiously collecting all the pencils (made from rainforest cedar) in class. And to top it off, Stink’s Crazy Strips entry wins a prize, while she gets . . . a certificate. Chronicled amusingly in Reynolds’s frequent ink-and-tea drawings, Judy goes from pillar to post—but she justifies the pencil caper convincingly enough to spark a bottle drive that nets her and her classmates not only a hundred seedling trees for Costa Rica, but the coveted school Giraffe Award (given to those who stick their necks out), along with T-shirts and ice cream coupons. Judy’s growing corps of fans will crow “Rare!” right along with her. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7636-1446-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2002

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For shark fanciers, a look at a Los Angeles Natural History Museum exhibit, Sharks: Fact and Fantasy. Now touring the country, it includes models of large and small sharks, many of them swimming in simulated undersea settings. The text follows a group of young museum-goers as they examine shark teeth, fossil sharks, sharks in art, and a living shark embryo; shark anatomy, special adaptations, types of sharks, and some shark facts are also included. Photos are clear, colorful and engaging. Not comprehensive, but an attractive added purchase. Pronunciation guide; additional reading; index. (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 1991

ISBN: 0-395-57560-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1991

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