AWESOME BLOSSOM

From the Flower Power series , Vol. 4

Secrets rock the flower friends in the fourth entry in Myracle's Flower Power series (Oopsy Daisy, 2012, etc.).

Fifth-graders Katie-Rose, Yasaman, Milla and Violet are looking forward to a quiet week, but there is never a dull moment at Rivendell Elementary. Milla is asked out on a date by her adorkable boyfriend, Max, but is having trouble telling her moms about it, let alone the flower friends. Good-girl Yaz sneaks a peek at a note she's been asked to deliver between two teachers and discovers a budding romance. Katie-Rose keeps finding tiny stuffed hedgehogs, but she can't figure out who is leaving them. Meanwhile, Violet tries to rescue the enigmatic new student, Hayley, from the clutches of mean-girl Modessa. But Violet's focus on making sure Hayley becomes a flower friend instead of an evil chick has Yaz feeling left out. Myracle continues her brilliant exploration of the complicated lives of preteens as they navigate first crushes, bullying and the struggle to stay true to themselves. However, this latest entry lacks the edge of the earlier series installments. The ongoing battle between Modessa and the flower friends feels tired, and Myracle focuses more on the girls’ friendships and budding romances than on social issues, like mental illness, as she did in previous entries. Still, the girls' giggle-worthy antics and enough dangling plot threads will keep readers wanting more.

A solid, if not outstanding, entry in the Flower Power series. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0405-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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GIRL'S BEST FRIEND

From the Maggie Brooklyn Mysteries series

In this series debut, Maggie Sinclair tracks down a dognapper and solves a mystery about the noises in the walls of her Brooklyn brownstone apartment building. The 12-year-old heroine, who shares a middle name—Brooklyn—with her twin brother, Finn, is juggling two dogwalking jobs she’s keeping secret from her parents, and somehow she attracts the ire of the dogs’ former walker. Maggie tells her story in the first person—she’s self-possessed and likable, even when her clueless brother invites her ex–best friend, now something of an enemy, to their shared 12th birthday party. Maggie’s attention to details helps her to figure out why dogs seem to be disappearing and why there seem to be mice in the walls of her building, though astute readers will pick up on the solution to at least one mystery before Maggie solves it. There’s a brief nod to Nancy Drew, but the real tensions in this contemporary preteen story are more about friendship and boy crushes than skullduggery. Still, the setting is appealing, and Maggie is a smart and competent heroine whose personal life is just as interesting as—if not more than—her detective work. (Mystery. 10-13)

   

 

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 967-1-59990-525-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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