Young readers will be happy to make Azaleah’s acquaintance.

READ REVIEW

THE AMAZING LIFE OF AZALEAH LANE

From the Azaleah Lane series

When her baby sister, Tiana, realizes her favorite stuffed frog, Greenie, is missing, Azaleah promises to help her find him—but will she have enough time to help Tiana and complete her school project?

Third grader Azaleah Lane is anxious to get home and start her diorama of Nikita the tiger after a visit to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. However, before she can get started, she must help Tiana find Greenie. Oldest sister Nia is of little help, as she’s busy preparing to play Dorothy in her middle school production of The Wiz. In order to complete her diorama and help Tiana solve the mystery of Greenie’s disappearance, Azaleah must prioritize her tasks and pay attention to the clues around her. This inaugural book in the Azaleah Lane series is a fast-paced and fun read, and Azaleah is a sympathetic, likable narrator who, like readers, is learning new vocabulary all the time. She thinks aloud as she works to solve the mystery, occasionally (and realistically) losing patience with the sobbing Tiana. Lobo’s playful, full-color illustrations every few pages are just enough to give transitioning readers needed rests so they’ll keep going; they depict Azaleah and her family as black. The backmatter includes a glossary of vocabulary words, book-discussion and writing prompts, and instructions for making a diorama.

Young readers will be happy to make Azaleah’s acquaintance. (Mystery. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5158-4464-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Picture Window Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Patchy work, both visually and teleologically.

YOU'RE HERE FOR A REASON

The sultana of high-fructose sentimentality reminds readers that they really are all that.

Despite the title, we’re actually here for a couple of reasons. In fulsome if vague language Tillman embeds one message, that acts of kindness “may triple for days… / or set things in motion in different ways,” in a conceptually separate proposition that she summarizes thus: “perhaps you forgot— / a piece of the world that is precious and dear / would surely be missing if you weren’t here.” Her illustrations elaborate on both themes in equally abstract terms: a lad releases a red kite that ends up a sled for fox kits, while its ribbons add decorative touches to bird nests and a moose before finally being vigorously twirled by a girl and (startlingly) a pair of rearing tigers. Without transition the focus then shifts as the kite is abruptly replaced by a red ball. Both embodied metaphors, plus children and animals, gather at the end for a closing circle dance. The illustrator lavishes attention throughout on figures of children and wild animals, which are depicted with such microscopically precise realism that every fine hair and feather is visible, but she then floats them slightly above hazy, generic backdrops. The overall design likewise has a slapdash feel, as some spreads look relatively crowded with verses while others bear only a single line or phrase.

Patchy work, both visually and teleologically. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05626-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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This funny, endearing addition to the series will delight early readers, especially dog lovers.

KING & KAYLA AND THE CASE OF THE LOST TOOTH

From the King & Kayla series

King and Kayla, the detective duo, are back to solve the mystery of Kayla’s missing tooth.

King, the happy and hilarious golden retriever narrator, anxiously awaits the return of his human, Kayla, who’s been at school for “eleventy seven hours. Maybe even eleventy seven days.” When Kayla finally arrives home, she has big news: She’s lost a tooth! Kayla is excited to use her class’s tooth-fairy pillow that night, but, alas, her tooth is missing! Though King discovers the pillow smells like turkey sandwiches (his favorite food), just like Kayla’s teeth, her tooth is nowhere to be found. The pair checks the car, the last place Kayla saw the tooth, and King finds lots of crumbs (more of his favorite foods) but no tooth. And so it goes, and Kayla must go to bed with an empty pillow. In the morning, Kayla finds a dollar, a dog treat, and a note from the tooth fairy even though her tooth wasn’t there. But when King notices the pillow still smells like turkey sandwiches, he’s found the final clue. Each page includes illustrations that are often humorous and highlight the affection between King and Kayla, who is depicted with brown skin and Afro-textured hair.

This funny, endearing addition to the series will delight early readers, especially dog lovers. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-56145-880-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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