Disposable paperback chills from Jovial Bob Stine.

SLAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU

From the Goosebumps Slappy World series , Vol. 1

Stine’s Slappy returns to sneer and scare.

Everyone’s favorite demonic dummy, Slappy, welcomes readers to his world as he acts as narrator and host in this first of a new Goosebumps subseries. This time out of the case, Slappy is a gift to Ian on his 12th birthday from his father, who repairs dolls and had received Slappy as a job—but with no return address. Ian has been obsessed with ventriloquism and dummies since a trip on his 9th birthday to a doll museum. Bratty little sister Molly thinks the refurbished Slappy’s scary. Annoying cousins Jonny and Vinny want their turn at playing with the new toy. When a paper with six magic words that promise to bring Slappy to life slips out of the dummy’s sleeve, all heck breaks loose. The is-he/isn’t-he–alive plot gets recycled again (this is Slappy’s 10th novel-length outing) along with all of Slappy’s jokes (which are mostly insults and feel very antique). His legions of fans won’t mind; they never do. The language is simple, the chapters end in (often foolish) cliffhangers. Per established formula, this offers just a bit of gross and no real scares. Slappy is white, and there’s nothing to indicate that the rest of the cast is otherwise.

Disposable paperback chills from Jovial Bob Stine. (Humorous horror. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-06828-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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