An approachable if uneven fictional introduction to activism

JUST A KID

When a new development threatens a beloved field, a young girl finds herself acting as a community organizer.

Nine-year-old Meerin Hoy gets a rude awakening when she spots new signs on Carson’s Field across the street. One is a “for sale” sign, and her father explains that the other is a zoning notice declaring the field to be developed for new construction. Meerin worries what this means. “So we won’t be able to play here?…And Mr. Bothwell won’t be able to take Tamara and Melissa fishing in the creek?” Incensed, Meerin notices comments can be made to the town clerk. The straightforward text narrates as Meerin writes a petition and collects a significant number of signatures from the community. After a discouraging initial interaction with the mayor, Meerin’s activism grows. Prompted by supportive adults, she writes a letter to the editor in the paper, speaks at a town meeting, and arranges a meeting with the mayor. The narrative is repetitious at times, and there are slight hiccups in the pacing. While the story provides a good model of community organizing, it resolves without the messiness of real life. Some readers may also puzzle over Meerin’s case of chicken pox, no longer a childhood inevitability in many regions. Meerin is described as having black hair and is depicted with light skin on the cover; names suggest a diverse neighborhood.

An approachable if uneven fictional introduction to activism . (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-88995-582-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Red Deer Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Young readers will recognize Suds as one of their own and will gladly follow him to fourth grade. Sweet and funny.

THIRD GRADE ANGELS

Suds Morton is not yet a “Fourth Grade Rat.” In this prequel to Spinelli's 1991 standby, he is a year younger and, according to his school’s traditional chant, he aspires to the sobriquet of “Third Grade Angel.”

When his teacher announces her intention of rewarding angelic behavior with a halo, Suds decides he wants to be the first angel. Between his cool new friend Joey, his wise mom and a little conclusion-jumping, he comes up with a plan. But, of course, his results are just a little off-kilter. Suds, nicknamed for his preference for calming soaks in bubble baths when he gets “chipmunky,” needs all the help he can get to deal with the various disasters and tribulations that threaten to overwhelm him. Along with the angel chase there’s a pesky little sister, a fifth-grade bully and total rejection by the girl he adores. Spinelli doesn’t miss a beat in recreating the characters from the earlier work and never reveals any hint of Suds’ fourth-grade future. He lets readers into Suds’ 8-year-old mind without condescension. His problems and concerns are treated comically but with genuine kindness. Suds is innocent, gullible and trusting; he is also entirely good-hearted.

Young readers will recognize Suds as one of their own and will gladly follow him to fourth grade. Sweet and funny. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-38772-9

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more