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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Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the...

CHARLIE BUMPERS VS. THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR

From the Charlie Bumpers series , Vol. 1

Charlie Bumpers is doomed. The one teacher he never wanted in the whole school turns out to be his fourth-grade teacher.

Charlie recalls third grade, when he accidentally hit the scariest teacher in the whole school with his sneaker. “I know all about you, Charlie Bumpers,” she says menacingly on the first day of fourth grade. Now, in addition to all the hardships of starting school, he has gotten off on the wrong foot with her. Charlie’s dry and dramatic narrative voice clearly reveals the inner life of a 9-year-old—the glass is always half empty, especially in light of a series of well-intentioned events gone awry. It’s quite a litany: “Hitting Mrs. Burke in the head with the sneaker. The messy desk. The swinging on the door. The toilet paper. And now this—the shoe on the roof.” Harley has teamed once again with illustrator Gustavson (Lost and Found, 2012) to create a real-life world in which a likable kid must face the everyday terrors of childhood: enormous bullies, looming teachers and thick gym coaches with huge pointing fingers. Into this series opener, Harley magically weaves the simple lesson that people, even teachers, can surprise you.

Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the sarcasm of Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-732-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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Funny and provocative.

TALLULAH THE TOOTH FAIRY CEO

A tooth-fairy mogul wrote the manual, but even the expert can be caught off guard.

Tallulah, CEO of Teeth Titans Inc., gives readers a sneak peek into her glamorous life. The wry narrative mimics the tone of many an inspirational biography, informing readers that Tallulah works hard to strike “a healthy balance between the three Ps: passion, purpose, and what pays.” From yoga to museum visits, Tallulah seems to have a full schedule, but she still makes time to hire and train tooth fairies for the entire world. Expert Tallulah has all the answers—or so she thinks until the night she gets a surprise from a little boy. Ballard has lost his tooth—literally—and leaves an explanatory note under his pillow in place of the missing item. This triggers an emergency board meeting that features remarkably realistic dialogue. Tom, a white man and the only board member who is not a woman of color, wears an #AllFairiesMatter T-shirt; his off-topic complaint about the lack of diversity makes an opening for important conversations with young readers. Tallulah is black and sports a voluminous purple Afro; Tom is the sole white character. Details in both Pizzoli’s text (Tallulah’s also the founder of the National Association for the Appreciation and Care of Primary Teeth, or NAACP-T) and Fabiani’s matte illustrations (a series of enormous, Warhol-like prints of Tallulah adorns her walls) will set adult readers chuckling.

Funny and provocative. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-374-30919-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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