BODEGA CAT

This cute cat seamlessly works an education on bodegas into a playful story.

A spunky bodega-dwelling kitty describes the ins and outs of a bustling neighborhood market.

Life for Chip the bodega cat is full of interesting new friends, great food, hard work, and a lot of fun. A bodega, Chip explains, is a “store that sells a little bit of everything you could need!” From tasty snacks to laundry detergent, the bodega has you covered 24 hours a day. The feline narrator details the rhythm of the day, which includes working diligently through the early-morning deliveries, the busy breakfast rush, the lunch crowd, and the lively after-school hours. Chip helps out around the store, at least in theory, by counting up inventory and lending a paw at the cash register. Of course, the friendly feline is never too busy for a round of hide-and-seek with its many “adoring fans,” the neighborhood kids. Characters depicted in the book represent many cultures and ethnicities, including Chip’s Latinx human family, headed by Papi, who’s from the Dominican Republic. Chin’s vibrant illustrations are touched with a graffiti-artist vibe and bring the world of the bodega to life with engaging full-color spreads. Details will feel perfectly executed to those familiar with bodegas already and will quickly transport those who haven’t yet had the pleasure. Readers’ mouths will water at the delicious-looking food prepared in the bodega’s kitchen.

This cute cat seamlessly works an education on bodegas into a playful story. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-57687-932-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: POW!

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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CODY HARMON, KING OF PETS

From the Franklin School Friends series

Another winner from Mills, equally well suited to reading aloud and independent reading.

When Franklin School principal Mr. Boone announces a pet-show fundraiser, white third-grader Cody—whose lack of skill and interest in academics is matched by keen enthusiasm for and knowledge of animals—discovers his time to shine.

As with other books in this series, the children and adults are believable and well-rounded. Even the dialogue is natural—no small feat for a text easily accessible to intermediate readers. Character growth occurs, organically and believably. Students occasionally, humorously, show annoyance with teachers: “He made mad squinty eyes at Mrs. Molina, which fortunately she didn’t see.” Readers will be kept entertained by Cody’s various problems and the eventual solutions. His problems include needing to raise $10 to enter one of his nine pets in the show (he really wants to enter all of them), his troublesome dog Angus—“a dog who ate homework—actually, who ate everything and then threw up afterward”—struggles with homework, and grappling with his best friend’s apparently uncaring behavior toward a squirrel. Serious values and issues are explored with a light touch. The cheery pencil illustrations show the school’s racially diverse population as well as the memorable image of Mr. Boone wearing an elephant costume. A minor oddity: why does a child so immersed in animal facts call his male chicken a rooster but his female chickens chickens?

Another winner from Mills, equally well suited to reading aloud and independent reading. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: June 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-374-30223-8

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

ACOUSTIC ROOSTER AND HIS BARNYARD BAND

Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look...

Winning actually isn’t everything, as jazz-happy Rooster learns when he goes up against the legendary likes of Mules Davis and Ella Finchgerald at the barnyard talent show.

Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look good—particularly after his “ ‘Hen from Ipanema’ [makes] / the barnyard chickies swoon.”—but in the end the competition is just too stiff. No matter: A compliment from cool Mules and the conviction that he still has the world’s best band soon puts the strut back in his stride. Alexander’s versifying isn’t always in tune (“So, he went to see his cousin, / a pianist of great fame…”), and despite his moniker Rooster plays an electric bass in Bower’s canted country scenes. Children are unlikely to get most of the jokes liberally sprinkled through the text, of course, so the adults sharing it with them should be ready to consult the backmatter, which consists of closing notes on jazz’s instruments, history and best-known musicians.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58536-688-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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