Absurdist and realistic at the same time, this Israeli mermaid tale requires a dry sense of humor.

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THE MERMAID IN THE BATHTUB

Grain-of-Sand, a mermaid, suddenly appears in Mr. Whatwilltheysay’s apartment.

Greatly concerned with his neighbors’ opinions, blank-faced Mr. Whatwilltheysay wants the mermaid to leave, but only when no one can see her. Although he is attracted to her, he cannot imagine marrying her, her bottom half consisting of a fish tail—he is true to his rather obvious name. She rightly calls him out on his fish-shaming: “You’re saying that because you have legs.” She keeps trying to introduce her watery ways into his humdrum life, but he’s not falling for her the way that males usually do in mermaid tales. When she disappears, he realizes his mistake. He madly searches the Tel Aviv waterfront and, on the fourth night, finally spots her, rising majestically from the waves, in the bathtub she stole from his apartment. The old stories do ring true, but after the fearful guy joins her, Grain-of-Sand has the last word: “I saved the tub stopper for you, my darling.” The two main characters present white. Inspired by mermaid legends, this Israeli import has a wry humor that may mystify young readers here. The surrealist illustrations feature intense colors on very shiny paper; they will draw everyone’s attention, children and adults alike.

Absurdist and realistic at the same time, this Israeli mermaid tale requires a dry sense of humor. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63206-211-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Restless Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver...

THE HAUNTED HOUSE NEXT DOOR

From the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol series , Vol. 1

What happens if you move to a new town and your house is haunted? Andres is about to find out!

Andres Miedoso—his last name means “fearful” in Spanish—is “definitely not the coolest and bravest kid in the world.” In fact, Andres likes normal-boring and understands normal-boring, because he is normal-boring. But when the brown-skinned, curly haired Latino child and his family move to Kersville, he finds out his new home is anything but normal-boring. Fortunately, his next-door neighbor, a black boy named Desmond Cole who is the same age as Andres, is “the coolest, bravest kid in the world.” Desmond’s business as stated on his business card is “Ghost Patrol.” How lucky should a boy feel to live in a haunted house? Very—if you’re Desmond. Not so lucky if you’re Andres. But when the ghost eats a lasagna that makes him sick and tells them he’s been moving from house to house, Andres feels sorry and invites the ghost to stay as long as he promises “not to do any spooky stuff.” A deal is struck, a friendship is born, and a new series for chapter-book readers gets off to a good start.

Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver with their story—and to other readers too. (Suspense. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1039-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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Returning fans will be happy to see their friends, but this outing's unlikely to win them new ones.

BOA CONSTRUCTOR

From the The Binder of Doom series , Vol. 2

In the second installment of the Binder of Doom series, readers will reconnect with Alexander Bopp, who leads the Super Secret Monster Patrol, a group of mutant children who protect the citizens of their beloved town of Stermont.

His friends Nikki and Rip rejoin him to add new monsters and adventures to their ever growing binder of monsters. As in series opener Brute-Cake (2019), Alexander and his friends attend the local library’s summer program, this time for “maker-camp.” They are assigned a Maker Challenge, in which each camper is to “make a machine that performs a helpful task”; meanwhile, mechanical equipment is being stolen all over Stermont. Unfortunately, the pacing and focus of the book hop all over the place. The titular boa constructor (a two-headed maker-minded snake and the culprit behind the thefts) is but one of many monsters introduced here, appearing more than two-thirds of the way through the story—just after the Machine Share-Time concludes the maker-camp plotline. (Rip’s “most dangerous” invention does come in handy at the climax.) The grayscale illustrations add visuals that will keep early readers engaged despite the erratic storyline; they depict Alexander with dark skin and puffy hair and Nikki and Rip with light skin. Monster trading cards are interleaved with the story.

Returning fans will be happy to see their friends, but this outing's unlikely to win them new ones. (Paranormal adventure. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31469-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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