HAILEY TWITCH AND THE CAMPGROUND ITCH

From the Hailey Twitch series

Hailey Twitch’s excitement turns sour when her teenage sister's demanding friend joins the family on a weekend getaway. Even the second grader’s not-so-imaginary sidekick Maybelle faces challenges at the family campground. Desperate to retain her magical abilities, the spunky sprite exerts her powers with unintended consequences. This series entry maintains a well-realized child-centered perspective through every humorous magical snafu. (Arcade games run amok, and the bossy friend’s hair turns green.) Hailey's realistic worries address her jealousy and self-doubt as she initially emulates her sibling’s behavior. When her sister takes part in a forbidden exploration, Hailey's thoughtful response demonstrates substantial growth. Hailey also reveals her growing maturity as she empathizes with her favorite classmate. “Now I know how Addie Jokobeck feels when she is trying to get me to listen to lots and lots of rules. It feels like a very big frustration.” The youngster's energetic voice rings true despite an overabundance of exclamation points. Wispy cartoon sketches depict outraged expressions and sheepish grins. A cliffhanger sets the stage for the next installment. This wholly satisfying trek embodies the a typical Hailey-ism: “very fun and funny.” (Fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4022-2446-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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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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