A lyrical tale that combats bullying through compassion and teaches children how to become heroes instead of victims.


Manny McMoose And His Chubby Caboose


A victim of vicious bullying transforms into the school hero in McMahon’s children’s story. 

Thoughtful and kind, Manny McMoose has fallen into the familiar trap of too little exercise and too many snacks. His girth makes him an easy target for the bullies at school. When new kid “Billy the Bully” arrives on the scene, Manny’s life takes a turn for the worse. Endless taunting both at school and online leads to feelings of helplessness and depression. With the prompting of a caring teacher, Manny finds an outlet for his gifts by volunteering with the school’s special needs students. As he develops strong, trusting friendships, he finally finds his voice. Written entirely in rhyming verse, this timely work is well-suited for students. Its poetic nature helps to relieve some of the tension surrounding this important subject, although some of the language—“Hey McGeek, you goofy, gay lard. / Wipe up the drool from that stupid retard!”—seems inappropriate for the book’s targeted elementary audience. Manny’s climactic confrontation with Billy is a pivotal moment. Here, Manny transforms from victim to champion by showing Billy the error of his ways, speaking with a firm confidence that should help to inspire youngsters. The author presents both sides of bullying and shows kids ways to break its cycle. The piece also gives voice to Billy and highlights the fact that bullies are often victims themselves who usually endure some form of intimidation or abuse at home.

A lyrical tale that combats bullying through compassion and teaches children how to become heroes instead of victims.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-1470130060

Page Count: 50

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 6, 2015

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From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 1

First volume of a planned three, this edited version of an ongoing online serial records a middle-school everykid’s triumphs and (more often) tribulations through the course of a school year. Largely through his own fault, mishaps seem to plague Greg at every turn, from the minor freak-outs of finding himself permanently seated in class between two pierced stoners and then being saddled with his mom for a substitute teacher, to being forced to wrestle in gym with a weird classmate who has invited him to view his “secret freckle.” Presented in a mix of legible “hand-lettered” text and lots of simple cartoon illustrations with the punch lines often in dialogue balloons, Greg’s escapades, unwavering self-interest and sardonic commentary are a hoot and a half—certain to elicit both gales of giggles and winces of sympathy (not to mention recognition) from young readers. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8109-9313-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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