Fine exercise for stretching linguistic muscles; great fun for reading aloud.

A TRIO OF TOLERABLE TALES

Atwood lets four letters of the alphabet assume starring roles in these three alliterative stories—R and W each in its own, with B and D sharing the limelight in another.

In each short, scintillating serving of silliness, a child prevails against dire circumstances of his or her situation through luck and perseverance. Rude Ramsay seeks refuge from his rowdy family and finds a real friend, Rillah, in a romantic rectory. Bob, a boy raised by a boxer, a beagle, and a borzoi, is taught to speak by Dorinda, a girl neglected by distant relatives. Wenda and her companion woodchuck work with three waifs—Wilkinson, Wu, and Wanapitai—to escape a wicked wizard who has held them all captive. Ramping up the humor and a tall-tale exuberance are: missing parents; disasters; villainous relatives and just plain bad adults; friendly rats and wolves and those resourceful dogs; plus icky food combinations (“wormy whitefish, withered whortleberries”). All are nicely matched by Petricic’s lively, cartoony, black-and-white illustrations. Rillah, Bob, and Wenda are depicted in the illustrations with pale skin, while Ramsay has slightly darker skin and Dorinda could have one black parent, and in an illustration of Wilkinson, Wu, and Wanapitai, one waif has Asian features and another has dark hair. The exaggerated humor and outlandish situations call to mind Roald Dahl, but the hilarity in this alliterative tour de force is all its own.

Fine exercise for stretching linguistic muscles; great fun for reading aloud. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55498-933-1

Page Count: 68

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

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. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse.

MEET THE BIGFEET

From the Yeti Files series , Vol. 1

It’s a Bigfeet family reunion!

Everyone’s favorite frosty, furry cryptid, the yeti, actually has a name: Blizz Richards. From his supersecret HQ in Nepal he keeps in touch with his fellow cryptids, all of whom have sworn an oath to keep themselves hidden. That’s not always easy, especially when there are cryptozoologists, like the nasty (but bumbling) George Vanquist, who are always trying to expose the secretive creatures. Vanquist got a picture of Blizz’s cousin Brian near his home in British Columbia, causing the mortified Brian to disappear entirely. When Blizz receives an invitation to a Bigfeet family reunion in Canada, he calls his buddies Alexander (one of Santa’s elves), Gunthar (a goblin) and Frank the Arctic fox to help him get ready. When they arrive in Canada, Brian is still nowhere to be seen. Can Blizz and his skunk ape and other sasquatch cousins find Brian, have the reunion and evade Vanquist? If anyone can, the Bigfeet clan can. Illustrator Sherry’s first volume in the Yeti Files is a fast and funny graphic-prose tale full of labeled pictures and comic-style panels. Those just starting chapter books may have some trouble with a few big words, but they’ll enjoy the big friendly monsters and immediately ask for the next tale—which looks to be about the Loch Ness monster.

Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-55617-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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