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MCTAVISH GOES WILD

From the McTavish Stories series , Vol. 2

A clearly entertaining read-aloud or read-alone for dog lovers.

McTavish returns to save the Peachey family from themselves, living up to his description as a “rescue” dog.

In series opener Good Dog, McTavish (2018), the sandy-colored terrier brought a family back from the brink of disaster with sheer cleverness and good humor. In this second title, the role-reversal plot of the new dog training the family continues into summer vacation, as the Peacheys head to the Faraway Campsite. Ma Peachey is excited to head to the idyllic mountains, with flowering fields and a flowing river. But Pa Peachey sees ridiculous danger in the wilderness. Brother Ollie prefers a disco where he can meet girls. And Ava only wants to read German philosophers. Once again, young Betty, the most sensible of the bunch, is ignored by the complaining Peacheys, too selfish to notice the beauty around them. The grumpy family, depicted by Easton with dark hair, fair skin, and pointy noses, decides to pack up and return home—but where is McTavish? A game of hide-and-seek ensues, with the plucky pup staying just out of reach. McTavish is not leading them astray—he is providing them a perfect day experiencing the outdoors. This series has legs to stand on, with clean writing, grayscale illustrations that gently move the action forward, and lovable yet flawed characters needing redemption. Fans will be panting for more.

A clearly entertaining read-aloud or read-alone for dog lovers. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0331-8

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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WINNIE-THE-POOH

Pull this out whenever you or someone nearby could use some joy and clever comics.

No public-domain tomfoolery here; this adaptation is an act of love.

An innocent, shirtless bear wanders through a forest. His blank, dot-eyed face is as aimless as his gait, although he is not without purpose: the location and consumption of honey. Woodland friends Christopher Robin, Piglet, Eeyore, Owl, Kanga, Roo, and Rabbit all have encounters with this silly bear, Winnie-the-Pooh, often to lend each other a hand in friendship or in pursuit of a Woozle or Heffalump. The mixture of personalities balances the sugar-sweetness of the genteel adventures, from the morose Eeyore to the verbose Owl. Rabbit has mean intentions for Kanga and her baby Roo, but they never escalate beyond playful mischief. Christopher Robin, who’s drawn with paper-white skin, is the comparably capable human who cheerfully gets along with the many anthropomorphic animals. Dandro’s black-and-white artwork skillfully renders the forests, fields, and streams of the outdoor setting while amplifying the playful dialogue with precisely timed pauses. The inventive use of layouts and paneling makes this an adept adaptation of Milne’s text to the graphic format. That silly old bear has learned some new tricks, and they may inspire a new generation of readers to discover the delights of Milne and Ernest H. Shepard’s original volumes.

Pull this out whenever you or someone nearby could use some joy and clever comics. (Graphic fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 16, 2024

ISBN: 9781770466968

Page Count: 220

Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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RAFI AND ROSI MUSIC!

From the Rafi and Rosi series

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape.

The fourth installment in Delacre’s early-reader series centers on the rich musical traditions of Puerto Rico, once again featuring sibling tree frogs Rafi and Rosi Coquí.

Readers learn along with Rafi and Rosi as they explore bomba, plena, and salsa in three chapters. A glossary at the beginning sets readers up well to understand the Spanish vocabulary, including accurate phoneticization for non-Spanish speakers. The stories focus on Rafi and Rosi’s relationship within a musical context. For example, in one chapter Rafi finds out that he attracts a larger audience playing his homemade güiro with Rosi’s help even though he initially excluded her: “Big brothers only.” Even when he makes mistakes, as the older brother, Rafi consoles Rosi when she is embarrassed or angry at him. In each instance, their shared joy for music and dance ultimately shines through any upsets—a valuable reflection of unity. Informational backmatter and author’s sources are extensive. Undoubtedly these will help teachers, librarians, and parents to develop Puerto Rican cultural programs, curriculum, or home activities to extend young readers’ learning. The inclusion of instructions to make one’s own homemade güiro is a thoughtful addition. The Spanish translation, also by Delacre and published simultaneously, will require a more advanced reader than the English one to recognize and comprehend contractions (“pa’bajo-pa-pa’rriba”) and relatively sophisticated vocabulary.

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape. (Early reader. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-89239-429-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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