This first full-length narrative, a series opener, from board-book creator Patricelli (Hair, 2017, etc.) is a no-frills,...

BEST BUDS UNDER FROGS

From the Rizzlerunk Club series , Vol. 1

Supershy fourth-grader Lily Lattuga (Italian for “lettuce”) just wants to blend in at her new school, but on the first day, she throws up on a popular girl’s shoes!

Then it gets worse: her new classmates start quacking at her after her repeated attempts to pronounce “Kwakiutl” in a list of Northwest Native American tribes—she never gets past the first syllable (an unfortunate joke)—and she gets on the wrong bus. Lucky for Lily, unselfconscious Darby Dorski extends the hand of friendship. The girls bond over their love of frogs, and the Rizzlerunk Club is born. The book’s title comes from the club’s pledge, which concludes “best buds, under frogs, with loyalty and honesty for all.” When Darby’s best friend, Jill, returns from London, loyalty and honesty are put to the test. Lily worries she’ll lose the only friend she has, and Jill is a lying troublemaker who gets Lily and Darby into one scrape after another, throwing the girls under the bus while weaseling her way out of punishment. Lily attempts to shave her unibrow after Jill makes fun of it, only to end up with a finger superglued to her forehead. Everyone appears to be white except for one classmate with a Spanish name. Lily loves to draw, and her first-person narration is livened up with her humorous line drawings reflecting her thoughts and feelings.

This first full-length narrative, a series opener, from board-book creator Patricelli (Hair, 2017, etc.) is a no-frills, funny story about friendship. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5104-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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Though the lessons weigh more heavily than in The One and Only Ivan, a potential disappointment to its fans, the story is...

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CRENSHAW

Applegate tackles homelessness in her first novel since 2013 Newbery winner The One and Only Ivan.

Hunger is a constant for soon-to-be fifth-grader Jackson and his family, and the accompanying dizziness may be why his imaginary friend is back. A giant cat named Crenshaw first appeared after Jackson finished first grade, when his parents moved the family into their minivan for several months. Now they’re facing eviction again, and Jackson’s afraid that he won’t be going to school next year with his friend Marisol. When Crenshaw shows up on a surfboard, Jackson, an aspiring scientist who likes facts, wonders whether Crenshaw is real or a figment of his imagination. Jackson’s first-person narrative moves from the present day, when he wishes that his parents understood that he’s old enough to hear the truth about the family’s finances, to the first time they were homeless and back to the present. The structure allows readers access to the slow buildup of Jackson’s panic and his need for a friend and stability in his life. Crenshaw tells Jackson that “Imaginary friends don’t come of their own volition. We are invited. We stay as long as we’re needed.” The cat’s voice, with its adult tone, is the conduit for the novel’s lessons: “You need to tell the truth, my friend….To the person who matters most of all.”

Though the lessons weigh more heavily than in The One and Only Ivan, a potential disappointment to its fans, the story is nevertheless a somberly affecting one . (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-04323-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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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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