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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

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From the I Can Read! series

Another quirky take on the series theme that it’s cool to be kind.

The cool beans again step up to do a timorous fellow legume a fava…this time at the pool.

Will a rash decision to tackle the multistory super-slide lead to another embarrassing watery fail for our shy protagonist? Nope, for up the stairs right behind comes a trio of cool beans, each a different type and color, all clad in nothing but dark shades. They make an offer: “It’s not as scary if you go with friends!” As the knobby nerd explains once the thrilling ride down is done, “They all realized that I just needed some encouragement and support.” Just to make sure that both cool and uncool readers get the message, the narrator lets us know that “there are plenty of kind folks who have my back. They’re always there when I need them.” The beany bonhomie doesn’t end at the bottom of the slide, with all gliding down to the shallow end of the pool (“3 INCHES. NO DIVING”) for a splashy finale. This latest early reader starring characters from John and Oswald’s immensely popular Food Group series will be a hit with fans. Fun accessories, such as a bean who rocks pink cat-eye frames, add some pizzazz to the chromatically and somatotypically varied cast.

Another quirky take on the series theme that it’s cool to be kind. (Easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2024

ISBN: 9780063329560

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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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

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