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For readers with a taste for the bizarre.

A mischievous talking popcorn kernel with a short fuse turns a Dutch girl’s life upside down.

When an American farmer pours a “super-illegal” substance onto his cornfield, he’s completely unaware that just a little while later in the Netherlands one of the “mega-big” kernels from that crop will become Popcorn Bob. Nine-year-old Ellis brings Bob to life while secretly microwaving popcorn in the shed. Ellis used to eat popcorn every day, but now both her school and her dads will allow only healthy food, and that means no popcorn. Now Ellis is stuck with the cowboy-hatted Popcorn Bob, whose insatiable hunger and bad temper throw Ellis’ life into chaos—which Ellis is always blamed for. If only Ellis could get rid of Popcorn Bob and convince everyone to stop eating gross, healthy food all the time! Originally published in the Netherlands, the plot of this illustrated chapter book strings together an odd assortment of slapstick scenarios, all propelled by the selfishness of a strange and repugnant kernel of corn. The detailed grayscale pencil illustrations are full of whimsy, exaggerated facial expressions appropriate to the cartoonish plot. Ellis and her dads appear to have fair skin, and Ellis’ classmates are diverse in appearance. The “meanwhile, back in the American Midwest” ending sets up a sequel. Numerous references to “crazy” people may leave readers with a bad taste in their mouths.

For readers with a taste for the bizarre. (Science fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64614-040-4

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Levine Querido

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists.

How to raise money for a coveted poster: put your friends to work!

John, founder of the FUBU fashion line and a Shark Tank venture capitalist, offers a self-referential blueprint for financial success. Having only half of the $10 he needs for a Minka J poster, Daymond forks over $1 to buy a plain T-shirt, paints a picture of the pop star on it, sells it for $5, and uses all of his cash to buy nine more shirts. Then he recruits three friends to decorate them with his design and help sell them for an unspecified amount (from a conveniently free and empty street-fair booth) until they’re gone. The enterprising entrepreneur reimburses himself for the shirts and splits the remaining proceeds, which leaves him with enough for that poster as well as a “brand-new business book,” while his friends express other fiscal strategies: saving their share, spending it all on new art supplies, or donating part and buying a (math) book with the rest. (In a closing summation, the author also suggests investing in stocks, bonds, or cryptocurrency.) Though Miles cranks up the visual energy in her sparsely detailed illustrations by incorporating bright colors and lots of greenbacks, the actual advice feels a bit vague. Daymond is Black; most of the cast are people of color. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-56727-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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