Next book


Math with mischief.

A multiracial classroom recites the multiplication tables from two through nine, making each equation into a tiny poem by adding a second line.

There’s no text here beyond each equation-couplet, but a table of contents lays out that each multiplication table has a theme: “Back to School,” “Halloween,” “Lunchtime,” etc. Markel’s scansion is often smooth as silk: “4 x 6 is 24 / Bella rode a dinosaur” (who knew that museum field trips include skeleton-riding? Or do they?); “4 x 7 is 28 / Pick up a knife. Decapitate” (worm dissection!). Other times the scansion’s impossible (“9 x 2 is 18 / Scrub them ’til they’re clean”) or, in a handful or examples, scannable only if the reader unearths an unintuitive beat (“2 x 8 is 16 / Ick. A moldy tangerine”). Some rhymes falter, too. However, the combination of squick (“4 x 1 is 4 / Sam Pukes. Sam Pukes some more”), naughtiness (“8 x 4 is 32 / Someone painted Nibbles blue”—poor classroom rat), and humor (“6 x 9 is 54 / Uh oh, Santa’s pants just tore”) will hold gleeful attention. Most of the first-person narration comes from a white child named Jonas, but two pages show children of color narrating. Liddiard’s line drawings offer sly expressions, especially through the characters’ eyes; muted oranges, browns, grays, and purples in a washlike texture keep the vibe mellow even when the humor’s tangy.

Math with mischief. (Picture book/poetry. 6-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-944903-75-6

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Cameron + Company

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

Next book


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

Next book


From the Three-Ring Rascals series , Vol. 1

Most children will agree the book is “smafunderful (smart + fun + wonderful).” (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 7-10)

In this entertaining chapter book, the first in a series, readers meet kind Sir Sidney and the gentle performers and hands in his circus. But Sir Sidney is tired and leaves the circus under the management of new-hire Barnabas Brambles for a week.

That Sir Sidney is beloved by all is quickly established, presenting a sharp contrast to the bully Brambles. The scoundrel immediately comes up with a “to do” list that includes selling the animals and eliminating the mice Bert and Gert. (Gert is almost more distressed by Brambles’ ill-fitting suit and vows to tailor it.) Revealed almost entirely through dialogue, the put-upon animals’ solidarity is endearing. The story, like the circus train now driven by the Famous Flying Banana Brothers, takes absurd loops and turns. The art is fully integrated, illustrating the action and supplementing the text with speech bubbles, facsimile letters and posters, Brambles’ profit-and-loss notes, examples of Gert’s invented vocabulary and more. Brambles’ plans go awry, of course, and he gets his comeuppance. With Bert and Gert acting as his conscience, along with a suit from Gert that finally fits and a dose of forgiveness, Brambles makes a turnaround. Sensitive children may doubt Sir Sidney’s wisdom in leaving his animals with an unscrupulous man, and the closing message is a tad didactic, but that doesn’t blunt the fun too much.

Most children will agree the book is “smafunderful (smart + fun + wonderful).” (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61620-244-6

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

Close Quickview