An unassuming summer-camp story about being yourself.



From the Princess Angelica series , Vol. 1

Angelica, also known as Jelly, is a great storyteller, but this time her imagination could get her into a heap of trouble in this series opener.

Jelly’s best audience is her friend Maddie, who always believes her stories, but this summer Jelly is going to sleepaway camp without her. At camp, Jelly finds herself living in a doozy of a story: she is Princess Angelica, whose “auntie Kate,” the Duchess of Cambridge, goes to all of her birthday parties; who rides the crocodiles in the castle moat; and who can have milkshakes whenever she wants. Jelly, via her frank first-person narration, contemplates whether or not to tell the truth, but she fears the other girls won’t think she’s so special if they know the real Jelly. Also, she loves being called “Your Majesty” and having the others happily do her chores. When Maddie joins the camp and blows Jelly’s cover, Jelly must earn friendship by being herself. Although Jelly’s mother disapproves of her father’s habit of calling her “Princess” because it reinforces gender stereotypes and snobbishness, Princess Angelica is a kind feminist who makes castle repairs and befriends all who meet her. The black-and-white illustrations suggest Jelly is mixed-race; Joon, one of her bunkmates, is Asian; other characters seem to be white.

An unassuming summer-camp story about being yourself. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1538-4

Page Count: 108

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the...


From the Charlie Bumpers series , Vol. 1

Charlie Bumpers is doomed. The one teacher he never wanted in the whole school turns out to be his fourth-grade teacher.

Charlie recalls third grade, when he accidentally hit the scariest teacher in the whole school with his sneaker. “I know all about you, Charlie Bumpers,” she says menacingly on the first day of fourth grade. Now, in addition to all the hardships of starting school, he has gotten off on the wrong foot with her. Charlie’s dry and dramatic narrative voice clearly reveals the inner life of a 9-year-old—the glass is always half empty, especially in light of a series of well-intentioned events gone awry. It’s quite a litany: “Hitting Mrs. Burke in the head with the sneaker. The messy desk. The swinging on the door. The toilet paper. And now this—the shoe on the roof.” Harley has teamed once again with illustrator Gustavson (Lost and Found, 2012) to create a real-life world in which a likable kid must face the everyday terrors of childhood: enormous bullies, looming teachers and thick gym coaches with huge pointing fingers. Into this series opener, Harley magically weaves the simple lesson that people, even teachers, can surprise you.

Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the sarcasm of Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-732-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.


From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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