A quietly humorous, encouraging story of friendship, disability, and self-confidence.

An imaginative boy, who walks with forearm crutches and wears glasses, learns to define himself in his own words.

At home, Henry’s “click-click-click”ing crutches—festooned with dinosaur, shark, and bird stickers—make him feel like a heron. But at school, a classmate calls him a “robot,” and even his friend Joel says he walks “like a chicken.” After Henry has a fall in the boys’ bathroom, his legs feel “weird, like they [belong] to a robot.” But Joel helps him up, the boys spend the rest of the day playing together, and Joel encourages Henry without pity. Black and white to suggest invisibility, a heron, robot, and chicken tag along. Joel’s toy dinosaur, whom Henry names Audrey, becomes part of their playful troupe. Later, the invisible creatures listening intently, Henry tells Audrey a story: “Not about a heron or a robot or a chicken. About me—Henry the boy.” Felder deftly balances Henry’s self-consciousness with resilience, which is aided by realistic friendship. Christopherson and Sweeney’s ink-and-watercolor illustrations animate the simple text. Wild swirls and rainbow splatters highlight Henry’s confusion and triumph respectively, and his imaginary, amicable entourage is subtly expressive. The heron peers protectively, and even the faceless robot seems to root for Henry. Such cozy touches as family portraits, a steaming breakfast bowl, and Henry’s pencil drawings emphasize that Henry’s something more than his disability: an appealingly ordinary boy. Henry and his taunting classmate present white; Joel presents black.

A quietly humorous, encouraging story of friendship, disability, and self-confidence. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9996584-0-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Penny Candy

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019


From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

Totes adorbs.

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019


From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 2

A strong, accessible diary story for readers seeking an adorable animal tale.

Bub the anxious pug tackles snow days and new neighbors in his second outing.

Bub, acclaimed by some as “the cutest pug on the planet,” at first shares the enthusiasm owner Bella expresses about snow days even though he doesn’t know what they are. Then Duchess the cat (mildly antagonistic, in typical feline fashion) rains on Bub’s parade by pointing out that snow is water—and Bub’s no fan of rain or baths. After a comedic and disastrous first attempt, Bub learns how to properly dress for snow and enjoy it. The outdoor fun’s cut short by mysterious noises coming from the new neighbor, which frighten Bella into thinking there’s a monster. Bub puts on a Sherlock Holmes get-up to investigate but becomes afraid himself of the new neighbor’s large dog. Finally, Bella meets Jack, who’s been working on a tree fort, and his dog, Luna, who is enthusiastically friendly. The story ends on a positive note, as they all happily work together on the fort. The full-color cartoon illustrations, especially of Bub, are adorably expressive and certain to please the age group. The generous font and format—short, diary-entry paragraphs and speech-bubble conversations—create a quick pace. Bub’s stylized emoji bubbles return and are most hilarious when used to express his nervous flatulence. Bella and Jack both present white.

A strong, accessible diary story for readers seeking an adorable animal tale. (Fantasy. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53006-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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