A delightfully funny read that accurately deals with the challenges of internet fame and nurturing friendships.

Comedian Hart’s sophomore middle-grade title, co-authored with Rodkey, explores the ways social media success can impact kids’ relationships and sense of self.

References to Marcus Makes a Movie (2021) give a synopsis of the earlier story to smooth the way for new readers without taking up too much of the narrative. In this entry, the fame generated by Marcus and Sierra’s movie from their after-school film club goes to Marcus’ head and leads to an unhealthy social media fixation. In fact, the movie that the duo created has landed them a spot on a popular television show. Unfortunately, Marcus’ tendency to speak first and ask questions later leads to a collision course with social media trolls, competing against his creative partner for likes, and the alienation of friends. Marcus’ father acts as an effective mirror who helps Marcus process and manage his social media consumption. Through Marcus’ ups and downs that are shared in a chatty tone sprinkled with plenty of humor, readers get a behind-the-scenes look at marketing strategies and the emotional peril of becoming too consumed by the quest for fame. Readers also see how difficult sharing the spotlight and protecting friendships can be. Characters are cued as Black. Final artwork not seen.

A delightfully funny read that accurately deals with the challenges of internet fame and nurturing friendships. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-17918-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022


The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952


Certain to steal hearts.

In this follow-up to 2020’s The One and Only Bob, Ruby the elephant is still living at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary.

She’s apprehensive about her Tuskday, a rite of passage for young elephants when she’ll give a speech in front of the rest of the herd. Luckily, she can confide in her Uncle Ivan, who is next door in Gorilla World, and Uncle Bob, the dog who lives nearby with human friend Julia. Ruby was born in an unspecified part of Africa, later ending up on display in the mall, where she met Ivan, Bob, and Julia. The unexpected arrival of someone from Ruby’s past life on the savanna revives memories both warmly nostalgic and deeply traumatic. An elephant glossary and Castelao’s charming, illustrated guide to elephant body language help immerse readers in Ruby’s world. Goofy, playful, and mischievous Ruby is fully dimensional, as she has shown her bravery during the many hardships of her young life. Applegate deftly tempers themes of grief and loss with compassion and humor as Ruby finds her place in the herd. The author’s note touches on climate change, the illegal ivory trade, and conservation efforts, but the highly emotive framing of the story through the memories of a bewildered baby elephant emphasizes the impact of lines such as “ ‘in Africa,’ I say softly, ‘there were bad people,’ ” without offering readers a nuanced understanding of the broader context that drives poaching.

Certain to steal hearts. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9780063080089

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

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