Pack your bags and prepare to fly.

ALVIN HO

ALLERGIC TO THE GREAT WALL, THE FORBIDDEN PLANET, AND OTHER TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

From the Alvin Ho series , Vol. 6

Alvin Ho is at it again. Allergic to everything and all things girly, this 7-1/2-year-old worrywart hops a continent to visit relatives in Beijing. Is China ready for Alvin?

The hilarious family vacation kicks off with an airport-security bang. Only Alvin can manage to set off alarms both on and off the plane, with his family of six in tow, including his baby sister (amusingly referred to in fish terms). Once in Beijing, Alvin meets his aunt Aiyi, uncle Jonathan (who looks “plain,” not “Chinese at all”), and cousins Katie and Bean Sprout. The family zips off to such sights as the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City, where dragons, “Peeking” duck and an encounter with a pit toilet go hand in hand. Amid his navigation of culture shock, Alvin becomes consumed with guilt over his dad’s lost passport and his rejection of an orphan’s wish for a friend. The way Look channels this adorable fraidy-cat continues to delight in this sixth Alvin book. Her lightning-quick dialogue sets the ideal tone and pace for reluctant travelers. Rendered in ink, Pham’s illustrations convey the family’s emotions, from anxiety to bliss, with simple, lively expressions. And around all the mayhem, there lies a story full of heart as big as China, where friendships (even with a girl) reach far beyond great walls.

Pack your bags and prepare to fly. (glossary) (Fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-36972-5

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

more