Though perhaps more playful than practical, the concept will help new readers and new English language learners conquer some...

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P IS FOR PTERODACTYL

THE WORST ALPHABET BOOK EVER

This atypical alphabet book humorously addresses “mischievous words” that ignore the rules of phonetics and spelling.

Silent letters can be confusing when trying to sound out difficult words. The book’s initial advice is to “just ignore that pesky first letter and sound out the rest of the word.” Examples of these include “bdellium,” “czar,” and “Djibouti.” The silent “n” in words such as “autumn” and “solemn” is also pointed out. Each letter’s sample is illustrated with cartoony, full-color drawings followed by a comically absurd sentence highlighting other examples. “G is for Gnocchi. / The gnome yells, ‘Waiter! There’s a bright white gnat nibbling on my gnocchi!’ ” A helpful glossary with pronunciation guide and a few additional factoids explains the thorny or strange words. Some of the letter/sound examples do stretch the theme and, while funny, may create some confusion. “L is not for Elle” talks about the “el train halfway to El Paso”; “R is not for Are” reviews the stereotypically British elision of R’s in such words as “butterfly,” “shark,” or “lizard”; and “V is for Five” is about roman numerals (“How Roman-tic!”). The cartoons are populated by animals and humans who represent a variety of skin tones.

Though perhaps more playful than practical, the concept will help new readers and new English language learners conquer some of the more peculiar aspects of our language. (Picture book. 7-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7431-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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This can’t be the last we ever hear of the Legendary Alston Boys of the purely surreal Logan County—imaginative,...

THE LAST LAST-DAY-OF-SUMMER

From the Legendary Alston Boys series , Vol. 1

Can this really be the first time readers meet the Legendary Alston Boys of Logan County? Cousins and veteran sleuths Otto and Sheed Alston show us that we are the ones who are late to their greatness.

These two black boys are coming to terms with the end of their brave, heroic summer at Grandma’s, with a return to school just right around the corner. They’ve already got two keys to the city, but the rival Epic Ellisons—twin sisters Wiki and Leen—are steadily gaining celebrity across Logan County, Virginia, and have in hand their third key to the city. No way summer can end like this! These young people are powerful, courageous, experienced adventurers molded through their heroic commitment to discipline and deduction. They’ve got their shared, lifesaving maneuvers committed to memory (printed in a helpful appendix) and ready to save any day. Save the day they must, as a mysterious, bendy gentleman and an oversized, clingy platypus have been unleashed on the city of Fry, and all the residents and their belongings seem to be frozen in time and place. Will they be able to solve this one? With total mastery, Giles creates in Logan County an exuberant vortex of weirdness, where the commonplace sits cheek by jowl with the utterly fantastic, and populates it with memorable characters who more than live up to their setting.

This can’t be the last we ever hear of the Legendary Alston Boys of the purely surreal Logan County—imaginative, thrill-seeking readers, this is a series to look out for. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-46083-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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This may spark a few imaginations, but its lack of directions and the difficulty level of most of the projects—not to...

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH ONLY ONE SHOE?

REUSE, RECYCLE, REINVENT

Readers learn how to “Reuse, Recycle, Reinvent” what some might call trash into treasures.  

Rhyming poems each introduce a single way to reuse/reinvent something: A toilet becomes a planter, the titular shoe morphs into a birdhouse, a (very large, nonstandard) light bulb houses a fish, and favorite jeans that are holey? They become a new purse. The most creative has to be a table supported by a pitchfork: “If you’re wanting to picnic on uneven ground, / where your table’s unstable or up on a mound, / stop and think! Be creative! The answer’s around.” While cans, wood and wire are both easily found and transformed into musical instruments, not all these projects use such common materials or are as simple to complete: Half of a boat turns into a covered bench, a car becomes a bed, and a grocery cart transforms into a chair. And although it’s neat to see a farmer’s new watering trough (an enormous tire) and a community’s new playground (an old ambulance anchors it), these are not projects that are likely to fire readers up to do similar things. Cartoon spot illustrations share space with photographs of the new inventions, and both are needed to make sense of the poems.

This may spark a few imaginations, but its lack of directions and the difficulty level of most of the projects—not to mention its failure to impart reasons for reducing, reusing and recycling—make this one to skip. (Poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55451-642-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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