Alvin’s excitable, first-person narration, replete with his realistic attempts to make sense of what he doesn’t understand,...

ALVIN HO

ALLERGIC TO BABIES, BURGLARS, AND OTHER BUMPS IN THE NIGHT

From the Alvin Ho series , Vol. 5

 

Alvin Ho’s lovable, quirky family is due to increase by one in this fifth installment of the warmly funny series, which again features vibrant, playful black-and-white illustrations by Pham. Though his mom assures a dubious Alvin that she told him months ago about her pregnancy, his new sibling’s imminent arrival introduces a whole new set of worries for nerve-wracked Alvin. Paramount among them is his misunderstanding that the “simply pathetic” (read: sympathetic) pregnancy his mother suggests he’s experiencing will result in him actually giving birth. Described in short, dialogue-driven chapters and in keeping with the enjoyably over-the-top tone that has come to define the ongoing story, Alvin’s anxiety (which includes an inability to speak at school) creates a host of situational comedies that the adults in his life must help him resolve. Alvin’s father’s absence due to a business trip is notable in this latest, and it results in Alvin’s leaning more heavily on his older brother, Calvin, whose current interest in Rube Goldberg devices makes for some predictably hilarious solutions to problems. The ending glossary, also a fixture of the series, offers creative definitions of terms as diverse as dim sum and nor’easter.

Alvin’s excitable, first-person narration, replete with his realistic attempts to make sense of what he doesn’t understand, will again infect readers with its goofiness. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 9, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-87033-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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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

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Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse.

MEET THE BIGFEET

From the Yeti Files series , Vol. 1

It’s a Bigfeet family reunion!

Everyone’s favorite frosty, furry cryptid, the yeti, actually has a name: Blizz Richards. From his supersecret HQ in Nepal he keeps in touch with his fellow cryptids, all of whom have sworn an oath to keep themselves hidden. That’s not always easy, especially when there are cryptozoologists, like the nasty (but bumbling) George Vanquist, who are always trying to expose the secretive creatures. Vanquist got a picture of Blizz’s cousin Brian near his home in British Columbia, causing the mortified Brian to disappear entirely. When Blizz receives an invitation to a Bigfeet family reunion in Canada, he calls his buddies Alexander (one of Santa’s elves), Gunthar (a goblin) and Frank the Arctic fox to help him get ready. When they arrive in Canada, Brian is still nowhere to be seen. Can Blizz and his skunk ape and other sasquatch cousins find Brian, have the reunion and evade Vanquist? If anyone can, the Bigfeet clan can. Illustrator Sherry’s first volume in the Yeti Files is a fast and funny graphic-prose tale full of labeled pictures and comic-style panels. Those just starting chapter books may have some trouble with a few big words, but they’ll enjoy the big friendly monsters and immediately ask for the next tale—which looks to be about the Loch Ness monster.

Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-55617-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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