Both hilarious and wise—another winner in this adventure series.

READ REVIEW

DEWEY FAIRCHILD

SIBLING PROBLEM SOLVER

A problem-solving sixth grader adds annoying siblings to his caseload in this third installment of a middle-grade series.

For more than a year, sixth grader Dewey Fairchild has been in the business of providing solutions to difficult parent and teacher conundrums. He has an office hidden in the attic, which is kept well supplied with delicious home-baked cookies thanks to Dewey’s 94-year-old assistant, Clara Cottonwood. After winter break, Dewey gets another problem-parent case: Sixth grader Archie Thomas’ mother won’t let him play video games during the week. Although Dewey helps them reach a compromise, Mrs. Thomas gets too involved in social media, embarrassing the mediator’s older sister, Angelica: “She’s suddenly all over the Internet and up in my business.” Dewey comes to the rescue again but then faces a new challenge: solving sibling problems. One girl has a little brother who won’t leave her alone (“Yesterday he ran around with his fart in a jar chasing me”), a boy’s little sister keeps coming into his room and messing with his things, and Dewey’s own sisters discover his secret office. Dewey’s elaborate schemes sometimes backfire entertainingly, such as his plan to improve sibling closeness through a fake bikenapping (the ransom to be paid in Tootsie Pops). But he does learn that younger siblings generally just want some attention, and even a small amount goes a long way. Horn (Dewey Fairchild: Teacher Problem Solver, 2018, etc.) offers a lot of laughs with these amusing misadventures: Adam Bautista-Knickerbocker, for example, shoves pancakes into his older sister’s slippers and shakes up a can of soda to spray all over her. Adults, too, can be comic, as with Mrs. Thomas’ hapless forays into social media: liking her own posts, using the wrong emoji, overtagging. But the author delivers some serious reflections that elevate this book beyond flubs and pranks. For example, a girl’s hot-pink bike and pink, purple, and blue helmet prompt thoughts about why readers associate color with gender and why they have gender-reveal parties. While Dewey is white, the cast includes kids of color.

Both hilarious and wise—another winner in this adventure series.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-948705-41-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Amberjack Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 8, 2019

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RAMONA'S WORLD

Ramona returns (Ramona Forever, 1988, etc.), and she’s as feisty as ever, now nine-going-on-ten (or “zeroteen,” as she calls it). Her older sister Beezus is in high school, baby-sitting, getting her ears pierced, and going to her first dance, and now they have a younger baby sister, Roberta. Cleary picks up on all the details of fourth grade, from comparing hand calluses to the distribution of little plastic combs by the school photographer. This year Ramona is trying to improve her spelling, and Cleary is especially deft at limning the emotional nuances as Ramona fails and succeeds, goes from sad to happy, and from hurt to proud. The grand finale is Ramona’s birthday party in the park, complete with a cake frosted in whipped cream. Despite a brief mention of nose piercing, Cleary’s writing still reflects a secure middle-class family and untroubled school life, untouched by the classroom violence or the broken families of the 1990s. While her book doesn’t match what’s in the newspapers, it’s a timeless, serene alternative for children, especially those with less than happy realities. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 1999

ISBN: 0-688-16816-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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  • SPONSORED PLACEMENT

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

AFTER ALL I'VE DONE

A middle-aged woman sidelined by a horrific accident finds even sharper pains waiting on the other side of her recuperation in this expert nightmare by Hardy, familiar to many readers as Megan Hart, author of All the Secrets We Keep (2017), etc.

Five months ago, while she was on her way to the hospital with an ailing gallbladder, Diana Sparrow’s car hit a deer on a rural Pennsylvania road. When she awoke, she was minus her gallbladder, two working collarbones (and therefore two functioning arms), and her memory. During a recovery that would’ve been impossible without the constant ministrations of Harriett Richmond, the mother-in-law who’s the real reason Diana married her husband, Jonathan, Diana’s discovered that Jonathan has been cheating on her with her childhood friend Valerie Delagatti. Divorce is out of the question: Diana’s grown used to the pampered lifestyle the prenup she’d signed would snatch away from her. Every day is filled with torments. She slips and falls in a pool of wine on her kitchen floor she’s sure she didn’t spill herself. At the emergency room, her credit card and debit card are declined. She feels that she hates oppressively solicitous Harriett but has no idea why. Her sessions with her psychiatrist fail to heal her rage at her adoptive mother, an addict who abandoned her then returned only to disappear again and die an ugly death. Even worse, her attempts to recover her lost memory lead to an excruciatingly paced series of revelations. Val says Diana asked her to seduce Jonathan. Diana realizes that Cole, a fellow student in her watercolor class, isn’t the stranger she’d thought he was. Where can this maze of deceptions possibly end?

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-470-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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100TH DAY WORRIES

1882

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-82979-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1999

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