Humor and humility mark Ty’s arc in his third outing.



From the Life of Ty series , Vol. 3

Now that his best friend, Joseph, is out of the hospital and returning to school, second-grader Ty hopes things will be just as they used to be, but he finds that change is a normal part of life.

Excitement and trepidation govern Ty Perry’s mood in the first weeks at school when Joseph returns. Ty’s expectations that their relationship will resume uninterrupted are confounded when Joseph’s recovery induces much curiosity and attention from the rest of the class, leaving Ty confused, sometimes jealous and wondering if he can share his longtime friend. Focused on his own feelings and thoughts, Ty seems to ignore Joseph’s reticence about his return and what he missed at school. An incident at a nursing home where Ty is visiting with his mother and the rescue of an injured wild bird force Ty to approach life more realistically, learn about responsibility, and in the end, appreciate and understand Joseph better. Ty is a somewhat self-centered 7-year-old; while this is developmentally appropriate, it also makes him hard to relate to, unlike such chapter-book age-mates as Stephanie Greene’s Owen Foote and Lenore Look’s Alvin Ho. Given his solipsism, his insightful revelation at the end—“Things change and life goes on and it’s not always easy”—is quite the mature conclusion.

Humor and humility mark Ty’s arc in his third outing. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-525-42288-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

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This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for...


From the Carver Chronicles series , Vol. 1

A gentle voice and familiar pitfalls characterize this tale of a boy navigating the risky road to responsibility. 

Gavin is new to his neighborhood and Carver Elementary. He likes his new friend, Richard, and has a typically contentious relationship with his older sister, Danielle. When Gavin’s desire to impress Richard sets off a disastrous chain of events, the boy struggles to evade responsibility for his actions. “After all, it isn’t his fault that Danielle’s snow globe got broken. Sure, he shouldn’t have been in her room—but then, she shouldn’t be keeping candy in her room to tempt him. Anybody would be tempted. Anybody!” opines Gavin once he learns the punishment for his crime. While Gavin has a charming Everyboy quality, and his aversion to Aunt Myrtle’s yapping little dog rings true, little about Gavin distinguishes him from other trouble-prone protagonists. He is, regrettably, forgettable. Coretta Scott King Honor winner English (Francie, 1999) is a teacher whose storytelling usually benefits from her day job. Unfortunately, the pizzazz of classroom chaos is largely absent from this series opener.

This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for subsequent volumes. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-97044-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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Patchy work, both visually and teleologically.


The sultana of high-fructose sentimentality reminds readers that they really are all that.

Despite the title, we’re actually here for a couple of reasons. In fulsome if vague language Tillman embeds one message, that acts of kindness “may triple for days… / or set things in motion in different ways,” in a conceptually separate proposition that she summarizes thus: “perhaps you forgot— / a piece of the world that is precious and dear / would surely be missing if you weren’t here.” Her illustrations elaborate on both themes in equally abstract terms: a lad releases a red kite that ends up a sled for fox kits, while its ribbons add decorative touches to bird nests and a moose before finally being vigorously twirled by a girl and (startlingly) a pair of rearing tigers. Without transition the focus then shifts as the kite is abruptly replaced by a red ball. Both embodied metaphors, plus children and animals, gather at the end for a closing circle dance. The illustrator lavishes attention throughout on figures of children and wild animals, which are depicted with such microscopically precise realism that every fine hair and feather is visible, but she then floats them slightly above hazy, generic backdrops. The overall design likewise has a slapdash feel, as some spreads look relatively crowded with verses while others bear only a single line or phrase.

Patchy work, both visually and teleologically. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05626-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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