Here’s to more adventures for Fergus and Zeke! (Early reader 6-9)

READ REVIEW

FERGUS AND ZEKE

A class pet decides not to miss the class field trip to the Museum of Natural History.

Fergus is a model student in Miss Maxwell’s class. He follows directions, listens quietly, does his math without looking at anyone else’s paper, and always chips in to tidy up. But he may not get to go on the class trip, as Fergus is a mouse. At the last minute, he sneaks into Emma’s backpack and continues following the teacher’s directions, including pairing up for the day…with a banana. Although the banana won’t come with Fergus when it’s time to explore, Zeke will. He’s a museum mouse who shows Fergus all the sights and is his buddy for the day. But when Fergus and Zeke overlook the human rule to not touch the exhibits, will it be Fergus’ downfall? Will he be able to reunite with his class and get back to school? And what about his new friend, Zeke? Messner’s first in a new early-reader series (Fergus and Zeke will visit the school science fair next) is divided into four chapters and meant for those who are confident enough in their reading abilities to begin to make the transition to chapter books. Ross’ digital illustrations add interest and break up the text, giving readers a mouse’s-eye view of the museum and its fascinating exhibits. Miss Maxwell is a blonde, white woman with a diverse class.

Here’s to more adventures for Fergus and Zeke! (Early reader 6-9)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7846-3

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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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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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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