Great fun, but perhaps best saved till after the first nightmare! (Board book. 18 mos.-5)

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I DOUBLE DARE YOU!

A lighthearted look at things that go bump in the night.

Eventually, every child has a bad dream. This book aims to empower toddlers by putting their nightmares into perspective and their monsters in the closet. Fun, inventive artwork and a battery of well-deployed tactile elements admirably reduce nightmare bugaboos to manageable, nonthreatening proportions. This “hair-raising touch-and-feel book” boasts a wide assortment of fuzzy, furry hides, googly eyes, stringy strands of hair, debossed ghosts, bumpy werewolf noses, scratchy dragon scales, and sticky giant-squid suction cups to keep small hands busy as tykes read along with caregivers. The brightly colored monsters meld monstrous size and teeth with shapes and expressions just goofy enough to convey charm and approachability rather than menace. The combination works. The scarier qualities of these monsters acknowledge children’s fears rather than dismissing them, but the humorous and gentle touches allow children to reassess the level of danger their nightmare creatures actually pose. Children are “double dared” to interact with each monster, scratching the ogre’s hairy feet, pulling the witch’s stringy hair, tickling the ghost, and so on. Young readers can then banish each menace with the admonishment, “Go away, Nightmare Monster! INTO THE CLOSET!” What level of protection that offers, who knows, but every kid loves an invitation to yell.

Great fun, but perhaps best saved till after the first nightmare! (Board book. 18 mos.-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-2-40800-432-3

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in...

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NEW KID

From the New Kid series , Vol. 1

Jordan Banks takes readers down the rabbit hole and into his mostly white prep school in this heartbreakingly accurate middle-grade tale of race, class, microaggressions, and the quest for self-identity.

He may be the new kid, but as an African-American boy from Washington Heights, that stigma entails so much more than getting lost on the way to homeroom. Riverdale Academy Day School, located at the opposite end of Manhattan, is a world away, and Jordan finds himself a stranger in a foreign land, where pink clothing is called salmon, white administrators mistake a veteran African-American teacher for the football coach, and white classmates ape African-American Vernacular English to make themselves sound cool. Jordan’s a gifted artist, and his drawings blend with the narrative to give readers a full sense of his two worlds and his methods of coping with existing in between. Craft skillfully employs the graphic-novel format to its full advantage, giving his readers a delightful and authentic cast of characters who, along with New York itself, pop off the page with vibrancy and nuance. Shrinking Jordan to ant-sized proportions upon his entering the school cafeteria, for instance, transforms the lunchroom into a grotesque Wonderland in which his lack of social standing becomes visually arresting and viscerally uncomfortable.

An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in America. (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-269120-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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