Girl power, dogs, and cupcakes provide a good mix for an easy chapter book.

HOME SWEET FOREVER HOME

From the Invincible Girls Club series , Vol. 1

Four friends plan an adoption day for shelter dogs.

Lauren loves dogs but can’t own one due to her stepfather’s allergies, so she volunteers at the local shelter and encourages her third grade friends to join her. Their supervisor tells them it’s difficult to find homes for older dogs, and, indeed, Rhett, her favorite, is still there after weeks. The girls decide to make a project of finding homes for older dogs. Their teacher can’t take one, and neither can Lauren’s uncle Patrick—he and Uncle Imad travel too much. The girls decide to hold an event at Uncle Patrick’s cupcake shop, luring people with cupcakes to showcase the dogs up for adoption. The girls work hard, but when disaster strikes, the plan must change. But these girls are invincible, right? The book concludes with short, inspiring bios of international girls and women who work with animals and tips for helping shelter dogs. The text reads quickly, and the sprightly illustrations and book design will hold young readers’ attention. Adults may groan, but some kids will find the punny chapter titles (“TEAMWORK IS PAW-SOME”) amusing. The cover of this first series entry shows Lauren and Ruby (who is chubby) as White, Emelyn with light brown skin and straight black hair, and Myka as Black. Sadly, Myka’s large family is described as especially loud, reflecting two common stereotypes.

Girl power, dogs, and cupcakes provide a good mix for an easy chapter book. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7530-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure.

THE PIRATE PIG

It’s not truffles but doubloons that tickle this porcine wayfarer’s fancy.

Funke and Meyer make another foray into chapter-book fare after Emma and the Blue Genie (2014). Here, mariner Stout Sam and deckhand Pip eke out a comfortable existence on Butterfly Island ferrying cargo to and fro. Life is good, but it takes an unexpected turn when a barrel washes ashore containing a pig with a skull-and-crossbones pendant around her neck. It soon becomes clear that this little piggy, dubbed Julie, has the ability to sniff out treasure—lots of it—in the sea. The duo is pleased with her skills, but pride goeth before the hog. Stout Sam hands out some baubles to the local children, and his largess attracts the unwanted attention of Barracuda Bill and his nasty minions. Now they’ve pignapped Julie, and it’s up to the intrepid sailors to save the porker and their own bacon. The succinct word count meets the needs of kids looking for early adventure fare. The tale is slight, bouncy, and amusing, though Julie is never the piratical buccaneer the book’s cover seems to suggest. Meanwhile, Meyer’s cheery watercolors are as comfortable diagramming the different parts of a pirate vessel as they are rendering the dread pirate captain himself.

A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37544-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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