An adventure that may help young readers find their own inner strength in the face of adversity—and spark their interest in...



A bear who enjoys gathering and categorizing stones deals with a bully in Parks’ (Pocketmouse at Crystal Cove, 2016) rhyming adventure with illustrations by Karron (Swirl Spirits, 2016, etc.).

Berto isn’t like the other black bears at Yosemite National Park. For one thing, he’s “ghastly afraid / Of climbing the cliffs where other bears played.” But he’s a happy youngster who loves collecting rocks, and he has an official permit from the national park to do so. He particularly likes grouping them into their types: sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic. Unfortunately, being different makes Berto a target for a bully bear named Buck. As Berto hides from his nemesis, he enjoys spying on ranger-led groups of humans; one of the best illustrations shows Berto looking in at a group of predominantly African-American hikers sitting around a campfire, with deer just beyond the shadows and a full sky of stars visible through the trees. When Berto returns home, he finds that Buck has torn apart his carefully labeled rock collection. Inspired by the ranger’s talk on real-life naturalist John Muir and his encounter with some particularly tough granite, Berto confronts Buck and stares him down. Later, when Buck gets stuck in a crevice, no one wants to help him, but Berto, who’s always feared climbing, decides to help his former enemy—if Buck promises to change his ways. Early on, Parks breezes through the science-based introduction in a way that will be accessible to young readers, showing not only the three major divisions of rocks, but also representatives of each type and the places where one might encounter them at Yosemite. Berto’s character development from fearful bear to brave rescuer is convincing, and although the opportunity to rescue Buck is too convenient, it can be forgiven for the sake of the tale. Parks’ stanzas also scan well, and with the exception of one oddly disproportionate illustration, Karron’s art is captivating and delightful.

An adventure that may help young readers find their own inner strength in the face of adversity—and spark their interest in geology as well.

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943172-01-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nature Tale Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2017

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From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 1

First volume of a planned three, this edited version of an ongoing online serial records a middle-school everykid’s triumphs and (more often) tribulations through the course of a school year. Largely through his own fault, mishaps seem to plague Greg at every turn, from the minor freak-outs of finding himself permanently seated in class between two pierced stoners and then being saddled with his mom for a substitute teacher, to being forced to wrestle in gym with a weird classmate who has invited him to view his “secret freckle.” Presented in a mix of legible “hand-lettered” text and lots of simple cartoon illustrations with the punch lines often in dialogue balloons, Greg’s escapades, unwavering self-interest and sardonic commentary are a hoot and a half—certain to elicit both gales of giggles and winces of sympathy (not to mention recognition) from young readers. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8109-9313-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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A guidebook for taking action against racism.

The clear title and bold, colorful illustrations will immediately draw attention to this book, designed to guide each reader on a personal journey to work to dismantle racism. In the author’s note, Jewell begins with explanations about word choice, including the use of the terms “folx,” because it is gender neutral, and “global majority,” noting that marginalized communities of color are actually the majority in the world. She also chooses to capitalize Black, Brown, and Indigenous as a way of centering these communities’ voices; "white" is not capitalized. Organized in four sections—identity, history, taking action, and working in solidarity—each chapter builds on the lessons of the previous section. Underlined words are defined in the glossary, but Jewell unpacks concepts around race in an accessible way, bringing attention to common misunderstandings. Activities are included at the end of each chapter; they are effective, prompting both self-reflection and action steps from readers. The activities are designed to not be written inside the actual book; instead Jewell invites readers to find a special notebook and favorite pen and use that throughout. Combining the disruption of common fallacies, spotlights on change makers, the author’s personal reflections, and a call to action, this powerful book has something for all young people no matter what stage they are at in terms of awareness or activism.

Essential. (author’s note, further reading, glossary, select bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4521-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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