A murky ramble satisfyingly festooned with surreal creatures and detail.

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FOLLOW FINN

A SEARCH-AND-FIND MAZE BOOK

From a Belgian illustrator, a set of sharp challenges to young maze runners and Where’s Waldo fans.

When Finn wakes to find his clothes scattered, his dog Sep vanished, and his multilevel house a shambles thanks to a rascally gang of goblins, the search is on—and then the chase. Thanks to dim lighting, dizzying shifts in locale, and hordes of distractions ranging from flocks of floating sheep to long-nosed, Edward Gorey–style night monsters with glowing eyes, tracing the routes of Finn and his quarry through dense tangles of roads, tunnels, stairways, undersea formations, and flights of sinuous dragons will strain the eyes of the most acute gamers and visual puzzle solvers. Though spotting the text is a challenge too, as it’s printed in teeny-tiny type and squirreled away in some inconspicuous corner on each spread, it does offer both helpful hints (“Luckily, they find a drooling rock, a royal rat and an old dragon pointing the way through the castle dungeons”) and a plotline that ultimately leads Finn back to his home just in time for a goblin-hosted birthday party. In tricksy but time-honored fashion Goes then lists a few previously unmentioned figures hidden in each scene as an incentive to go back. The spreads are mostly monochromatic, with occasional features picked out in a contrasting color; Finn himself is a light-skinned child (or possibly man).

A murky ramble satisfyingly festooned with surreal creatures and detail. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77657-185-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the...

CHARLIE BUMPERS VS. THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR

From the Charlie Bumpers series , Vol. 1

Charlie Bumpers is doomed. The one teacher he never wanted in the whole school turns out to be his fourth-grade teacher.

Charlie recalls third grade, when he accidentally hit the scariest teacher in the whole school with his sneaker. “I know all about you, Charlie Bumpers,” she says menacingly on the first day of fourth grade. Now, in addition to all the hardships of starting school, he has gotten off on the wrong foot with her. Charlie’s dry and dramatic narrative voice clearly reveals the inner life of a 9-year-old—the glass is always half empty, especially in light of a series of well-intentioned events gone awry. It’s quite a litany: “Hitting Mrs. Burke in the head with the sneaker. The messy desk. The swinging on the door. The toilet paper. And now this—the shoe on the roof.” Harley has teamed once again with illustrator Gustavson (Lost and Found, 2012) to create a real-life world in which a likable kid must face the everyday terrors of childhood: enormous bullies, looming teachers and thick gym coaches with huge pointing fingers. Into this series opener, Harley magically weaves the simple lesson that people, even teachers, can surprise you.

Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the sarcasm of Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-732-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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