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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A deft mix of chills and chuckles, not quite as sideways as Wayside School but in the same district.

A FRIENDLY TOWN THAT'S ALMOST ALWAYS BY THE OCEAN!

From the Secrets of Topsea series , Vol. 1

A fifth-grader struggles to fit in after he and his recently widowed mother move to a decidedly oddball new town.

As if the seemingly infinite pier, the lighthouse in the middle of town, and the beach teeming with enigmatic cats aren’t strange enough, Davy Jones discovers that his school locker has been relocated to the deep end of the swimming pool, his lunchtime fries are delivered by a “spudzooka,” and no one seems to be able to get his name right. On the other hand, his classmates welcome him, and in next to no time he’s breaking into an abandoned arcade to play pinball against a ghost, helping track down a pet pig gone missing on Gravity Maintenance Day, and like adventures that, often as not, take sinister swerves before edging back to the merely peculiar. Point-of-view duties pass freely from character to character, and chapters are punctuated with extracts from the Topsea School Gazette (“Today’s Seaweed Level: Medium-high and feisty”), bulletins on such topics as the safe handling of rubber ducks, and background notes on, for instance, the five local seasons, giving the narrative a pleasantly loose-jointed feel. Davy presents as white, but several other central cast members are specifically described as dark- or light-skinned and are so depicted in the frequent line drawings; one has two moms.

A deft mix of chills and chuckles, not quite as sideways as Wayside School but in the same district. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-00005-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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Eurocentric, not to mention overly ambitious—but being able to say some variant of “Not so hot” in Belarus, Brazil or any...

THE BOOK OF LANGUAGES

TALK YOUR WAY AROUND THE WORLD

With just a bit of practice children will come away from this quick but sweeping linguistic look-see able to exchange greetings and a “How are you doing?” with anyone (almost) anywhere in the world.

Following a dash past language’s origins and families, Webb introduces 21 tongues—literally, as signed languages are clumped with semaphore and other codes in a mop-up chapter at the end. At one double-page spread per language, each is given a thumbnail history, a linguistic map, translations of the numbers one through 10, pronunciation notes and a set of conversational words or phrases from “Hello” to “I’m fine, thank you” or, conversely, “Not so good.” He also tacks on an alphabet (Pinyin for Mandarin Chinese, Devanagari script for Hindi-Urdu) and, in catchall boxes on each spread, comments on scripts, loan words, and one or two distinctive orthographic or grammatical features. Including English, 10 of his selections are European languages, but he also tucks in a few choices from elsewhere such as Quechua and Zulu plus, in passing, samples at least of Esperanto, Klingon and even “Textese,” LOL. Lest he be accused of leaving anything out, the author closes with a glance at various forms of animal communication.

Eurocentric, not to mention overly ambitious—but being able to say some variant of “Not so hot” in Belarus, Brazil or any point between has to count for something. (index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: April 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-77147-155-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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