An engaging, cheerfully illustrated story with a classic moral.

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Loukoumi And The Schoolyard Bully

In the sixth installment of Katsori’s (Loukoumi’s Cookbook, 2011, etc.) children’s book series, Loukoumi the lamb responds to a bully by following the golden rule.

Loukoumi is excited to tell her animal friends at school that her parents are expecting a new baby lamb. Her excitement is spoiled, however, when an alligator named Igor, the schoolyard bully, interrupts to mock Loukoumi’s unique name (which means “sweet” in Greek), and she’s hurt and confounded by his cruel words and actions. Fortunately, her crew of animal friends consoles her with wise words. They discuss the value of celebrating differences and individuality. Her monkey friend, Marika, explains that kindness and acceptance of others should prevail over cruelty and bullying. Throughout the day, Loukoumi follows her friends’ advice, showing Igor forgiving kindness and respect; for example, when Igor’s pencil breaks, Loukoumi happily lends him one of hers, despite Igor’s prior cruelty. Igor is surprised and positively affected by her unwavering friendliness. The book provides young readers with an example of how bullying may be overcome not with retaliation, but with kind consideration. Bright, colorful illustrations lend the book an engaging cartoon aesthetic. However, the resolution of Loukoumi’s bullying problem may seem too quick and easy, as Igor quickly transforms into an ally after just a few acts of kindness. However, the overarching theme of the story, the golden rule, is one which may be useful for young readers. The book’s accessible text and illustrations make this a good choice for beginning readers. It also comes with an audio version of the story, animatedly narrated by Nia Vardalos, writer and star of the 2002 film My Big Fat Greek Wedding, with Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman as the voice of Igor.

An engaging, cheerfully illustrated story with a classic moral.

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2013

ISBN: 978-0984161034

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NK Publications/Dream Day Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2014

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DIARY OF A WIMPY KID

A NOVEL IN CARTOONS

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 1

First volume of a planned three, this edited version of an ongoing online serial records a middle-school everykid’s triumphs and (more often) tribulations through the course of a school year. Largely through his own fault, mishaps seem to plague Greg at every turn, from the minor freak-outs of finding himself permanently seated in class between two pierced stoners and then being saddled with his mom for a substitute teacher, to being forced to wrestle in gym with a weird classmate who has invited him to view his “secret freckle.” Presented in a mix of legible “hand-lettered” text and lots of simple cartoon illustrations with the punch lines often in dialogue balloons, Greg’s escapades, unwavering self-interest and sardonic commentary are a hoot and a half—certain to elicit both gales of giggles and winces of sympathy (not to mention recognition) from young readers. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8109-9313-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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