An amusing international adventure with some dicey internet practices.

THE MYSTERY OF THE MASKED MEDALIST

From the Kudo Kids series , Vol. 1

Siblings race to solve a series of puzzles only to get more than what they bargained for.

Japanese American siblings Andy and Mika Kudo are ecstatic. Since their mother is the editor-in-chief of Compete, a popular sports website, the family will experience their first visit to Japan during the upcoming Summer Olympics. The siblings will also be able to play Olypifan, a popular augmented-reality game app, right there on the ground in Tokyo. The two already have plans to find more clues and virtual medals, all in hopes of correctly guessing the identity of the Masked Medalist. Their excitement soars when they learn that the creator of the game—an actual Olympic athlete—will have the winners be the beta testers for their upcoming game. Things get even more interesting when rumors begin to spread: of teams cheating, mysterious notes, and possible hacks. Mika has her own secret—breaking a family rule with an Instagram account to enter the Olympic photography contest. Chat transcripts, online postings, and lively illustrations are interspersed throughout the text, with most of the intrigue and puzzle-solving occurring toward the end. There is little reflection on Mika’s unsanctioned social media account, even after she receives personal messages from a possible stalker. Disappointingly, there is no note or other reinforcement about online safety.

An amusing international adventure with some dicey internet practices. (Mystery. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-5931-1373-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet!

WAYS TO MAKE SUNSHINE

From the Ryan Hart series , Vol. 1

Ryan Hart is navigating the fourth grade and all its challenges with determination.

Her mom named her Ryan because it means “king,” and she wanted Ryan to feel powerful every time she heard her name; Ryan knows it means she is a leader. So when changes occur or disaster strikes, budding chef Ryan does her best to find the positive and “make sunshine.” When her dad is laid off from the post office, the family must make adjustments that include moving into a smaller house, selling their car, and changing how they shop for groceries. But Ryan gets to stay at Vernon Elementary, and her mom still finds a way to get her the ingredients she needs to practice new recipes. Her older brother, Ray, can be bossy, but he finds little ways to support her, especially when she is down—as does the whole family. Each episodic chapter confronts Ryan with a situation; intermittently funny, frustrating, and touching, they should be familiar and accessible to readers, as when Ryan fumbles her Easter speech despite careful practice. Ryan, her family, and friends are Black, and Watson continues to bring visibility to both Portland, Oregon, generally and its Black community specifically, making another wonderful contribution that allows Black readers to see themselves and all readers to find a character they can love.

Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet! (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0056-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A smart, fresh take on an old favorite makes for a terrific series kickoff

THE GREAT SHELBY HOLMES

From the Shelby Holmes series , Vol. 1

A modern Sherlock Holmes retelling brings an 11-year-old black John Watson into the sphere of know-it-all 9-year-old white detective Shelby Holmes.

John's an Army brat who's lived in four states already. Now, with his parents' divorce still fresh, the boy who's lived only on military bases must explore the wilds of Harlem. His new life in 221A Baker St. begins inauspiciously, as before he's even finished moving in, his frizzy-haired neighbor blows something up: "BOOM!" But John's great at making friends, and Shelby certainly seems like an interesting kid to know. Oddly loquacious, brusque, and extremely observant, Shelby's locally famous for solving mysteries. John’s swept up in her detecting when a wealthy, brown-skinned classmate enlists their help in the mysterious disappearance of her beloved show dog, Daisy. Whatever could have happened to the prizewinning Cavalier King Charles spaniel? Has she been swiped by a jealous competitor? Has Daisy’s trainer—mysteriously come into enough money to take a secret weekend in Cozumel—been placing bets against his own dog? Brisk pacing, likable characters, a few silly Holmes jokes ("I'm Petunia Cumberbatch," says Shelby while undercover), and a diverse neighborhood, carefully and realistically described by John, are ingredients for success.

A smart, fresh take on an old favorite makes for a terrific series kickoff . (Mystery. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68119-051-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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