A helpful novel/manual with a role to play in the classroom and therapy office.



A middle schooler struggles with time management and executive functioning skills.

In Hudon’s debut graphic novel, time is always slipping away from Kodi, the main character. He wakes up on the first day of middle school intent on doing everything right and not being the “loser” he was last year. But extra time spent in bed means he forgets half his things, misses the bus, and leaves a mess in his home that angers his working single mother. Every day in his week is like this; he even loses track of time the night before an important report is due and falls asleep at the kitchen table trying to finish it. It isn’t until Kodi hears a snippet about something called “the Time Snatcher” in class that he starts to identify his problem and seek help from the school’s speech-language pathologist, Mrs. Norton (“The Time Snatcher wants to take your time by distracting you”). Learning the skills that he needs to reorganize his life isn’t easy, and it takes most of the school year for Kodi to find what works for him. The battle is tough, but Mrs. Norton and Kodi’s classmate Juan help him to fight and finally defeat the Time Snatcher once and for all. Their methods serve not only to help Kodi, but also ostensibly to aid the book’s audience, too, as this novel reads as a thinly veiled guide to time management skills. Its format makes it highly accessible for a variety of ages and reading abilities, though the story does come off as somewhat one-dimensional. Szucs’ illustrations, which portray a diverse cast, are plain but practical. A standout moment is the brain-as-orchestra metaphor that describes executive functioning skills. The backmatter includes worksheets for readers to use to tackle their own Time Snatchers. This work is a useful tool that may find its place in the collections of educators and psychologists rather than on recreational reading shelves.

A helpful novel/manual with a role to play in the classroom and therapy office.

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2022

ISBN: 9781580412926

Page Count: 108

Publisher: ASHA Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2023

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low.

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From the Dog Man series , Vol. 4

Recasting Dog Man and his feline ward, Li’l Petey, as costumed superheroes, Pilkey looks East of Eden in this follow-up to Tale of Two Kitties (2017).

The Steinbeck novel’s Cain/Abel motif gets some play here, as Petey, “world’s evilest cat” and cloned Li’l Petey’s original, tries assiduously to tempt his angelic counterpart over to the dark side only to be met, ultimately at least, by Li’l Petey’s “Thou mayest.” (There are also occasional direct quotes from the novel.) But inner struggles between good and evil assume distinctly subordinate roles to riotous outer ones, as Petey repurposes robots built for a movie about the exploits of Dog Man—“the thinking man’s Rin Tin Tin”—while leading a general rush to the studio’s costume department for appropriate good guy/bad guy outfits in preparation for the climactic battle. During said battle and along the way Pilkey tucks in multiple Flip-O-Rama inserts as well as general gags. He lists no fewer than nine ways to ask “who cut the cheese?” and includes both punny chapter titles (“The Bark Knight Rises”) and nods to Hamiltonand Mary Poppins. The cartoon art, neatly and brightly colored by Garibaldi, is both as easy to read as the snappy dialogue and properly endowed with outsized sound effects, figures displaying a range of skin colors, and glimpses of underwear (even on robots).

More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low. (drawing instructions) (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-93518-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

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