It doesn’t stick the landing, but it’s nevertheless a sobering insight with plenty of history on its side.

I DIDN'T STAND UP

An update of the (originally) anti-Nazi poem of protest, reframed as an anti-bullying message.

An optimistic finish robs this litany—modeled on the anonymous and often misquoted lines beginning “First they came for the communists…”—of its profound cautionary power, but the point remains, and the tally of afflicted groups is particularly cogent for younger audiences. Following “First they went after Jamal. / But I’m not black— / so I didn’t stand up for him,” the unnamed narrator shies away from the sight of peers either looking sad or being harassed or menaced by a racially diverse quartet of sneering fellow students. Victims include a “geek,” a gay boy, a fat kid, a girl wearing hand-me-downs, an immigrant, a Muslim child, a child using forearm crutches, and Alexis (“she used to be Alex”). In her diaphanous, yellow-tinged illustrations, Hudon sets each scene in school or on a playground and draws stiffly posed figures with oversized heads and eyes to emphasize through facial expressions the emotional impact of bullying. When at last “they” come for the unseen speaker, all of the previous victims line up shoulder to shoulder: “We all stood together.” Falcone follows this rather self-serving turn with a closing note quoting the original (with “communists” replaced by the less-controversial “socialists”) and directing a nod to Martin Niemöller, the minister and peace worker who made it famous.

It doesn’t stick the landing, but it’s nevertheless a sobering insight with plenty of history on its side. (Picture book. 7-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-988347-06-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clockwise Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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A road trip to remember.

CLEAN GETAWAY

Using the Negro Travelers’ Green Book and her hidden past as a road map, a grandma takes her grandson on a cross country journey.

When G’ma pulls up to William “Scoob” Lamar’s house in a brand-new Winnebago and invites him on an adventure, Scoob leaves a note for his dad and jumps in. Despite not knowing where they are going, or why G’ma has traded in her Mini Cooper and house for the RV, Scoob is a willing wingman because he wants to save spring break and escape his strict single dad for a few days. Readers will appreciate the bond between Scoob and G’ma; Stone balances fun with emotion for a compelling read. After they cross from Georgia to Alabama and G’ma keeps avoiding Dad’s calls, Scoob begins to get suspicious. When G’ma lets him see the contents of her once off-limits treasure box, which includes a 1963 edition of the Travelers’ Green Book, Scoob understands this trip means much more than even he imagined. The complex role race plays in their family and on this trip—Scoob is mixed-race and presents black, and G’ma is white—is explored in a meaningful way that provides details about a period in time as well as present-day realities. Rich in history, Stone’s middle-grade debut entertains and informs young readers. The subdued ending may frustrate, but the journey, punctuated by Anyabwile’s grayscale cartoons, is well worth it.

A road trip to remember. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9297-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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