Young readers transitioning to chapter books will find themselves laughing while they empathize

READ REVIEW

BEARS BEWARE

From the Zigzag Kids series , Vol. 5

Mitchell thinks he isn’t brave, so an overnight camping trip fills him with worry—and, besides, he doesn't want to celebrate his birthday in the woods.

Decorated with cheerful sketches, each slender volume of the Zigzag Kids series highlights one of the children attending the titular afterschool program. In this fifth installment, Mitchell is the focus, surrounded by the familiar cast of characters. Unfolding in short, crisp sentences, the events come quickly and inspire giggles: The bus breaks down, the tent poles break and underwear spills from packs. The Nature Center is rich with flora, but Mitchell is sure that killer animals are lurking. Mitchell may not be bold, but he likes writing stories, so he imagines a character named Gary Bopper, and when he needs a boost of courage, does his best to assume Gary's bravado. Events reach a zenith for Mitchell when he finds himself alone during the scavenger hunt and comes face-to-face with nature’s wild beasties. Mitchell realizes that his fancy is more frightening than reality, and the frosting on the cake comes by way of a delicious surprise from his friends.

Young readers transitioning to chapter books will find themselves laughing while they empathize . (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-73889-7

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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Wholesome, uncomplicated fare for the younger Matt Christopher crowd.

THE MISSING BASEBALL

From the Zach and Zoe Mysteries series , Vol. 1

Lupica kicks off a new series starring a pair of 8-year-old twins who solve sports-themed mysteries.

Even the pleasures of competing in various events during his school’s Spirit Week dim a smidge for Zach Walker when the prized autographed baseball he brings to his third-grade class for show and tell vanishes. Happily, his bookish but equally sports-loving sister, Zoe, is on the case, and by the time of the climactic baseball game at week’s end, she has pieced together clues and deductions that lead to the lost treasure—which had not been stolen but batted through an open window by the teacher’s cat and stashed in a storage shed by the custodian. In the co-published sequel, The Half-Court Hero, the equally innocuous conundrum hangs on the identity of the mysterious “guardian angel” who is fixing up a run-down playground basketball court. Along with plenty of suspenseful sports action, the author highlights in both tales the values of fair play, teamwork, and doing the “right thing.” The Walker family presents white, but in both the narrative and Danger’s appropriately bland (if inappropriately static) illustrations, the supporting cast shows some racial and ethnic diversity.

Wholesome, uncomplicated fare for the younger Matt Christopher crowd. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-425-28936-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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Hand this goofy bigfoot to young readers eager to get their starts in graphic novels.

HOW TO SPOT A SASQUATCH

Young ranger Jay uses his camping trip to capture evidence of the Sasquatch while unknowingly being occasionally pranked by one himself.

“Sound off!” Jay, a little Asian boy, is so engrossed in his quest to find the elusive Sasquatch that he is oblivious to the prompts from Ranger Dove (a young woman of color). Each member of his diverse troop questions his search tactics, which he eagerly answers only to be rebuked. Unbeknownst to all, Jay’s “lures” successfully intrigue a flower- and occasionally grass-skirt–wearing sasquatch named Sass and her posse of savvy woodland friends. In episodes characterized by quirky and physical humor, Sass messes with Jay and his troop: She leaves a “Sasquatch Footprint” (really a butt-print); she also puts out their campfire by spitting river water all over it. Things start to get real (well…Sass gets only a tad more serious) when she saves Jay from drowning and Jay wants to thank her. The story moves back and forth between the rangers and Sass and her friends, easily developing both sets of characters. Torres is a veteran of comic-book writing, and it shows, the text conveyed only in dialogue, sans narrator or footnotes. Grand’s thin, pencil-lined illustrations and the linear layout of rectangular panels make the story easy to follow for younger readers.

Hand this goofy bigfoot to young readers eager to get their starts in graphic novels. (Graphic fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77147-277-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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