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KENZIE KICKSTARTS A TEAM

From the Derby Daredevils series , Vol. 1

A lighthearted celebration of life, friendship, and rolling with the punches. (Fiction. 8-12)

The first in an illustrated middle-grade series about growing up—and roller derby.

Fifth graders and best friends Kenzie and Shelly have always done everything together. They also share the same dream: to be on the same roller derby team. It’s only 2,000 days until they turn 15 and can join the local “wreck” league. But when tryouts for a new junior league are announced, the girls no longer have to wait. The catch: if “Kenzilla” and “Bomb Shell” want to be on the same team, they need to try out as a team. The Dynamic Duo must find a way to expand to a fivesome, and introvert Kenzie will need to accept that she must share outgoing Shelly with new people. The third-person limited narration sympathetically conveys Kenzie’s struggle. The derby scenes are fast-paced and fun to read, with clearly explained rules; readers who hope for the further support of a glossary will be disappointed, however. Expressive black-and-white graphic novel–style illustrations show wide diversity among classmates and derby members. Kenzie and Shelly are white; new teammate and basketball player Tomoko is Asian and larger than the other girls; skateboarder and Kenzie’s crush, Bree, is black and wears her hair in locs; and a third, shy Camila, is implied Latinx. Kenzie’s dad is trans, a fact that is incidental to the story.

A lighthearted celebration of life, friendship, and rolling with the punches. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4079-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

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

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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

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FAKER

Glitzy glimpses of life on the make, lightened by a focus on alternatives rather than consequences.

A con man’s son yearns for a different way of life.

Having helped his single dad fleece wealthy marks since kindergarten, Trey is adept at spotting their rich offspring in each new school he attends and cultivating them until the time comes for a quick getaway. Now that he’s 12, though, the urge to make real friends and put down some roots has become insistent—particularly since he’s drawn to Kaylee, a new classmate in his latest middle school. How can he convince his dad, who’s in the midst of luring local investors into a fantastically lucrative scheme involving a fictive electric car, that it’s time to bag the family profession and settle down? Korman goes more for ironic humor than the physical or stand-up sort in this book, as shown by Trey’s enrollment in an ethics class that forces him into some decidedly hypocritical stances. Much like Trey himself, instant new bestie Logan and his parents turn out to be not at all who they seem. And though there are no bullies or real baddies in the cast on the way to the story’s rosy but implausible resolution, Trey’s malign, high-strung, and wildly reckless huckster of a little sister from hell definitely adds both conflict and suspense to this provocative outing. Main characters read white.

Glitzy glimpses of life on the make, lightened by a focus on alternatives rather than consequences. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: July 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781338826753

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2024

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