From the Fergus and Zeke series

Readers may have to count to 100 to cool their heels waiting for this clever pair’s next adventure.

The adorable mouse best friends are back, brainstorming, problem-solving, and celebrating 100 days of school.

Miss Maxwell’s class pets get in on all the action, writing stories, reporting the weather, and celebrating special days alongside the racially diverse human students. So when the teacher announces a 100th-day party and an assignment to collect and bring in 100 objects, Fergus and Zeke are on it. But do they have 100 of any one thing? Patterning their work on that of their human classmates, they attempt a tower of wood chips…that falls at 47. Zeke’s attempt to run 100 miles on their rodent wheel fails: “One hundred is a very big number when you’re counting miles.” They find the opposite is true when they take a nap of 100 seconds. For their joint 100-word story, author Zeke reaches 100 words just as his character, Fergus, is grabbed by a hungry monster. At the eleventh hour, a misstep by Fergus and some quick thinking by Zeke mean that the two will have a project after all. Messner and Ross again perfectly straddle the line between easy readers and chapter books, with delightful illustrations showing both wide-angle views and the perspective of the tiny mice breaking up the text. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Readers may have to count to 100 to cool their heels waiting for this clever pair’s next adventure. (Early reader. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1300-3

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021


From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018


From the Bea Garcia series , Vol. 4

A funny and timely primer for budding activists.

Problems are afoot at Emily Dickinson Elementary School, and it’s up to Bea Garcia to gather the troops and fight.

Bea Garcia and her best friend, Judith Einstein, sit every day under the 250-year-old oak tree in their schoolyard and imagine a face in its trunk. They name it “Emily” after their favorite American poet. Bea loves to draw both real and imagined pictures of their favorite place—the squirrels in the tree, the branches that reach for the sky, the view from the canopy even though she’s never climbed that high. Until the day a problem boy does climb that high, pelting the kids with acorns and then getting stuck. Bert causes such a scene that the school board declares Emily a nuisance and decides to chop it down. Bea and Einstein rally their friends with environmental facts, poetry, and artwork to try to convince the adults in their lives to change their minds. Bea must enlist Bert if she wants her plan to succeed. Can she use her imagination and Bert’s love of monsters to get him in line? In Bea’s fourth outing, Zemke gently encourages her protagonist to grow from an artist into an activist. Her energy and passion spill from both her narration and her frequent cartoons, which humorously extend the text. Spanish-speaking Bea’s Latinx, Einstein and Bert present white, and their classmates are diverse.

A funny and timely primer for budding activists. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2941-9

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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