Enthralling, uplifting: a celebration of everyday heroes’ journeys in the quest for education and learning.

MY FIRST DAY

A child braves floodwaters and embarks on an adventure.

The Mekong Delta is home to the young Vietnamese narrator anticipating a big day: “I wake up with the sun creeping into the sky and wait for tide and time to bring to me my little open boat.” Venturing on a familiar trip—yet alone for the first time—the child stands and paddles into the waves, steadied by a backpack, cautious confidence, and words of parental encouragement. Panoramic illustrations with the feel of animation create a magical cinematic effect that renders scenery and motion through multiple perspectives, capturing atmospheric weather patterns and magnificent tropical flora and fauna—some highly dangerous and threatening. The self-aware text draws astute metaphoric parallels between the landscape and the classroom the child journeys to. Anxiety over “a thousand” prying eyes and “scary” places dissipates as courage and knowledge prompt the child to “turn the unfamiliar into family...write my name across the blackboard of the river.” Sumptuously textured landscapes detailing lotuses and inky swells create vivid contrasts while reminding viewers of the ecosystem’s fragile balance. This solo voyage concludes as the child approaches the school on dry land, greeted by friendly water buffalo “galumphing near the shore” and other children, many with gap-toothed smiles that match the narrator’s. The book closes with further information about the Mekong River and its delta. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Enthralling, uplifting: a celebration of everyday heroes’ journeys in the quest for education and learning. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30626-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Make Me a World

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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PUG BLASTS OFF

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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A strong, accessible diary story for readers seeking an adorable animal tale.

PUG'S SNOW DAY

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 2

Bub the anxious pug tackles snow days and new neighbors in his second outing.

Bub, acclaimed by some as “the cutest pug on the planet,” at first shares the enthusiasm owner Bella expresses about snow days even though he doesn’t know what they are. Then Duchess the cat (mildly antagonistic, in typical feline fashion) rains on Bub’s parade by pointing out that snow is water—and Bub’s no fan of rain or baths. After a comedic and disastrous first attempt, Bub learns how to properly dress for snow and enjoy it. The outdoor fun’s cut short by mysterious noises coming from the new neighbor, which frighten Bella into thinking there’s a monster. Bub puts on a Sherlock Holmes get-up to investigate but becomes afraid himself of the new neighbor’s large dog. Finally, Bella meets Jack, who’s been working on a tree fort, and his dog, Luna, who is enthusiastically friendly. The story ends on a positive note, as they all happily work together on the fort. The full-color cartoon illustrations, especially of Bub, are adorably expressive and certain to please the age group. The generous font and format—short, diary-entry paragraphs and speech-bubble conversations—create a quick pace. Bub’s stylized emoji bubbles return and are most hilarious when used to express his nervous flatulence. Bella and Jack both present white.

A strong, accessible diary story for readers seeking an adorable animal tale. (Fantasy. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53006-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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