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TOMOKO TAKES THE LEAD

From the Derby Daredevils series , Vol. 3

This book will roll off the shelves.

“It’s camp and roller derby! Where can you go wrong?”

The third installment of the Derby Daredevils shifts to Tomoko’s perspective as summer break approaches. Rather than hitting the trails and camping with her uncle as usual, Tomoko is going with her entire league to a sleep-away roller derby camp. Tomoko is not as excited as her friends because meeting new people is terrifying for her. Upon arrival, Tomoko is shocked to learn they are staying at a large convention center in the middle of Dallas, and she sees her worst fear realized when a girl starts bullying her. Worst of all, her friends don’t notice. When the Daredevils decide to sneak out into the city for a little while, they become lost. It’s up to Tomoko to use all her wilderness skills to navigate them back before anyone notices. The journey back is fraught with tension and revelations, and Tomoko learns that taking the lead also means standing up for yourself. This highly illustrated chapter book is lighthearted and fun yet willing to take on hard topics. Tomoko’s experiences with microaggressions—for her larger size and Japanese heritage—are not usually discussed with so much honesty and humor for middle graders. Rosewater excels at using the different perspectives of her diverse cast of characters to help Tomoko define what is happening to her and to ultimately confront her bully.

This book will roll off the shelves. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5172-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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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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THE ONE AND ONLY RUBY

From the One and Only series , Vol. 3

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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