An engaging, feel-good novel about elementary school life.

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ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

From the Rip & Red series , Vol. 2

Following series opener A Whole New Ballgame (2015), this second installment of the Rip and Red series finds the eponymous fifth-graders feeling pretty good about the year…until a new girl turns their world upside down.

A diverse cast of characters highlights this good-natured, high-spirited slice of life at Reese Jones Elementary School. Narrator Mason Irving, nicknamed Rip, is an African-American student whose mother is a principal at another school. Blake Daniels, nicknamed Red for his hair, is on the autism spectrum, Avery is in a wheelchair, and their new teacher, Mr. Acevedo, has family in the Dominican Republic. Mr. Acevedo’s class is a student’s dream—lots of breaks in the school day, few tests, and not much in the way of worksheets. Enter Takara Eid, called Tiki by her friends, with an Egyptian father and a forceful presence. Tiki turns out to be quite the basketball player, and she leads a protest against the terrible food in the cafeteria. Her aggressive personality forces everyone to rethink their places in the elementary school universe, and everyone is changed. Even Red makes satisfying emotional progress and becomes something of a hero in the end. Bildner, a former teacher, casts an affectionate eye on school life and creates likable characters in realistic school situations, managing to make characters unique within their school group.

An engaging, feel-good novel about elementary school life. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-374-30134-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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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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A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

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The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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