A great read for Lola’s fans and any kid with a yen for a furry pet of their own.



From the Lola Levine series , Vol. 4

Peruvian/Jewish Lola momentarily inhabits cloud nine in this latest installment of the popular series (Lola Levine and the Ballet Scheme, 2016, etc.).

Counting down the days until her family’s kitty acquisition, Lola keeps busy with the construction of a kitty castle, swim lessons, and research trips to the library. But sadly, all is not well in the Levine household. When an orange cat (dubbed Jelly) comes home with Lola, her brother, Ben, starts exhibiting suspicious symptoms. Lola encourages him to lie about what is clearly a newfound allergy, but this strategy goes south when Ben wakes up with a rash. With Jelly’s days clearly numbered, it’s up to Lola to find her much-longed-for cat a new home ASAP, or it’s back to the shelter. For a kid faced with the crushing disappointment of losing her new pet, Lola takes the news of Jelly’s imminent departure unbelievably well. Mitigating this challenge to credibility, her gutsy attempts to tackle the puzzle of Jelly’s new home smack of true heroism. Befitting this culturally diverse protagonist, Lola’s mixed heritage is acknowledged in small ways throughout, with Peruvian cultural details (chicha morada) and occasional, italicized use of Spanish (“¡Vámonos!”) and Yiddish (bubbe). When Lola bids goodbye to her díario, she tells it “shalom.”

A great read for Lola’s fans and any kid with a yen for a furry pet of their own. (Fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-25853-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2017

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.


After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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