Simple, hopeful, and positive. (Verse fiction. 7-10)

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BULLY ON THE BUS

A bully on the bus proves to be more than siblings Leroy and Ruby can handle alone.

Even though grade schooler Leroy loves his teacher and his fellow Superkids in Mrs. Wilson’s classroom, he dreads the trip to and from school for one particular reason—DJ. A high schooler who changes the color of her hair almost as frequently as her mood, DJ finds respite from her own frustrating life by tormenting Leroy. Insults, mockery, and poking are only the start, and there’s little that older sister Ruby, who’s only in grade five, can do to help. When the cupcake Leroy has made for his teacher disappears into DJ’s mouth, he is crushed. His parents and teacher notice a change in his demeanor, but Leroy feels nervous confiding in them. When he does, they hatch a plan. Leroy has a list of things he can do to combat DJ, including ignoring her, sitting in a seat close to the bus driver, and speaking confidently. But it’s his secret weapon, a storybook that distracts him and interests DJ, that finally encourages peace on the bus. Leroy learns the important lesson of show and tell: “Show the bully you don’t care. / Tell an adult.” Simply written in verse, this is a story many children will find familiar. An optimistic ending might be just the encouragement most kids need, but it may be a little improbable for some readers. Set in Australia, the book assumes a white default.

Simple, hopeful, and positive. (Verse fiction. 7-10) (Verse fiction7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61067-770-7

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the...

CHARLIE BUMPERS VS. THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR

From the Charlie Bumpers series , Vol. 1

Charlie Bumpers is doomed. The one teacher he never wanted in the whole school turns out to be his fourth-grade teacher.

Charlie recalls third grade, when he accidentally hit the scariest teacher in the whole school with his sneaker. “I know all about you, Charlie Bumpers,” she says menacingly on the first day of fourth grade. Now, in addition to all the hardships of starting school, he has gotten off on the wrong foot with her. Charlie’s dry and dramatic narrative voice clearly reveals the inner life of a 9-year-old—the glass is always half empty, especially in light of a series of well-intentioned events gone awry. It’s quite a litany: “Hitting Mrs. Burke in the head with the sneaker. The messy desk. The swinging on the door. The toilet paper. And now this—the shoe on the roof.” Harley has teamed once again with illustrator Gustavson (Lost and Found, 2012) to create a real-life world in which a likable kid must face the everyday terrors of childhood: enormous bullies, looming teachers and thick gym coaches with huge pointing fingers. Into this series opener, Harley magically weaves the simple lesson that people, even teachers, can surprise you.

Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the sarcasm of Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-732-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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