The valuable lesson is all the more effective for being shown, and not preached—though perhaps it's meant more for adults...

What does it mean to "live life to the fullest"?

Young Ernestine Buckmeister's parents pack her schedule, with a different activity daily after school, with yoga and karate on the weekend. They've even hired brusque Nanny O'Dear to keep her on schedule. As mother says, "Make every moment count!" Ernestine has no time to play, though it's clear from her longing looks at neighbor Hugo and his soccer ball that she wants to. The big schedule board that covers a wall of her bedroom fills her with dismay. One afternoon, Ernestine rushes out the door past Nanny, shouting, "Today I scheduled something new!" It's a trip to the park, to play with other kids. When the yodeling teacher calls home to report Ernestine's absence, the news sends her parents into a tizzy. They visit all her activities, from knitting to water ballet to tuba practice. Just following in their daughter's footsteps exhausts the Buckmeisters, and, when they spot her in the distance, they barely have enough energy to trudge up a hill to meet her. Both Ernestine and Nanny seem happy and renewed. From that day forward, sometimes it's activities, and sometimes..."she just played." There's great energy in both Lodding's storytelling and Beaky's bright acrylic illustrations.

The valuable lesson is all the more effective for being shown, and not preached—though perhaps it's meant more for adults than the children they are reading to . (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-979974-69-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flashlight Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011


From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

Totes adorbs.

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019


From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 2

A strong, accessible diary story for readers seeking an adorable animal tale.

Bub the anxious pug tackles snow days and new neighbors in his second outing.

Bub, acclaimed by some as “the cutest pug on the planet,” at first shares the enthusiasm owner Bella expresses about snow days even though he doesn’t know what they are. Then Duchess the cat (mildly antagonistic, in typical feline fashion) rains on Bub’s parade by pointing out that snow is water—and Bub’s no fan of rain or baths. After a comedic and disastrous first attempt, Bub learns how to properly dress for snow and enjoy it. The outdoor fun’s cut short by mysterious noises coming from the new neighbor, which frighten Bella into thinking there’s a monster. Bub puts on a Sherlock Holmes get-up to investigate but becomes afraid himself of the new neighbor’s large dog. Finally, Bella meets Jack, who’s been working on a tree fort, and his dog, Luna, who is enthusiastically friendly. The story ends on a positive note, as they all happily work together on the fort. The full-color cartoon illustrations, especially of Bub, are adorably expressive and certain to please the age group. The generous font and format—short, diary-entry paragraphs and speech-bubble conversations—create a quick pace. Bub’s stylized emoji bubbles return and are most hilarious when used to express his nervous flatulence. Bella and Jack both present white.

A strong, accessible diary story for readers seeking an adorable animal tale. (Fantasy. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53006-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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