A true treasure from a very young author.

READ REVIEW

The Dragon Carousel

Written and illustrated by an 11-year-old girl, this children’s book tells the wonderful tale of a little girl in San Francisco who must attend a new school and leave old friends behind.

Motherless Lily Chen lives in San Francisco near the wharf, and her father operates the Dragon Carousel in Golden Gate Park. When her father’s work schedule changes, it necessitates Lily attending a new school, Oakpark Elementary, and leaving her old friends behind. Feeling isolated and alone, she’s having a hard time adjusting, until her grandmother gives her a good-luck token: a beautiful silver dragon charm on a sparkling silver chain. The charm works its magic, and soon Lily enters a “golden time” in her life, bringing a new friend to ride the Dragon Carousel. Before the age of 12, the author—now a grown-up and an employee of this book’s publishing house—created dozens of short stories, several novels and numerous cartoons. Scans of the original colored-pencil illustrations accompany young Genelza’s honest, endearing original text. It’ll be easy for most children to relate to Lily’s dilemma. Her background, the description of the Dragon Carousel, the problems encountered in the new school and the denouement are all beautifully detailed, resulting in a magical, powerful message for young readers. In addition to the recently drawn new cover, the charming original cover and interior pages are also included. The artwork displays the author’s natural talent and terrific eye for detail, like cracks in a bowl or the springs of a mattress. An especially enchanting illustration depicts Lily standing with a lunch tray surrounded by three new girls, each dressed with delicious details, including platform shoes and sunglasses dangling from a handbag.

A true treasure from a very young author.

Pub Date: July 28, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lekha Publishers

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2012

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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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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