A simple lesson in compassion, told in lively, rhyming text with engaging illustrations.

CAN YOU FIND MY SHOE?

In Lennox’s debut, rhyming picture book, featuring illustrations by Aveira (Mariposa, 2019, etc.), a little boy searches for his lost shoe in the zoo and gets a surprise when he finds it.

“One day in the summer I went to the zoo, / And somehow or other I lost my right shoe!” narrates a young boy. He enlists the aid of zookeepers and they hunt for the footwear in habitats and enclosures, encountering a polar bear, a giraffe, camels, and many more creatures along the way. A helpful kangaroo checks her pouch; the boy even takes a snorkeling dip in the flamingo pond to look. Aveira’s semirealistic, full-color, full-page digital images feature lavish greenery, big-eyed, friendly animals, and relatable human characters (the boy and most other characters are white; a zookeeper and a few bystanders have brown skin). Children will have fun spotting what the boy doesn’t—including his upside-down shoe in the background. What the kindhearted boy discovers when he finally finds it is a sweetly comic revelation, and another surprise is still to come. The book is labeled “A Zoo Adventure for Ages 3 to 7,” which suggests that there may be a welcome series of adventures ahead.

A simple lesson in compassion, told in lively, rhyming text with engaging illustrations.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-73339-950-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Jumping Juniper Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2019

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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